Oakman Inns converts care home into multimillion-pound pub

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Extraordinary transformation: Oakman Inns has converted an old care home and opened a brand new pub in Olney
Extraordinary transformation: Oakman Inns has converted an old care home and opened a brand new pub in Olney
Oakman Inns has converted an old care home and also opened a brand new pub in Olney - named one of the top 10 places to live in the south-east this month - having purchased the freehold for £1.5m and invested £2m in refurbishments.

The Cherry Tree, named after the town’s Cherry Fair – is a "sensitive and elegant restoration" and extension of a two-storey, Grade II-listed house, converted from an old, closed residential care home in the  Buckinghamshire-based town. 

The pub marks Oakman Inns 21st brand new opening overall, and its second within a month.

“When we started trading this business 11 years ago we recognised that there was a huge opportunity in high-quality market towns to satisfy a strong demand for smart/casual, high-quality drinking and dining," said Oakman Inns CEO Peter Borg-Neal.

"These towns tend to reject national brands with a narrow focus. Conversely, our desire to engage with communities and to take a flexible approach to our operations makes them ideal for an Oakman Inn.

"Olney was one of the towns listed in our original business plan and I am delighted that we have made it here at long last. Having purchased the freehold for £1.5m and invested £2m in developing the Cherry Tree, this is a substantial investment and we are optimistic that the people of Olney will be delighted as well."

Many of the old Victorian and Georgian features such as cornicing, plaster work, sash windows, parquet flooring and fire places have been "painstakingly" renovated and reinstated to integrate and yet contrast with the inspirational contemporary design.

The space created is subtly interspersed with antiques and cherry tree-themed works of art sourced locally, including 1930s oil paintings and original 1920s Tiffany wall lights in the lobby.

Extraordinary transformation

Set within the original garden courtyard, a 100-seat restaurant is a contemporary addition.

Supported by a team of 40 people – all recruited locally – Stevie Watts, who grew up nearby, is the Cherry Tree’s first general manager, said: “Olney is such a vibrant and busy town and richly deserves The Sunday Times​ accolade of being one of the top 10 places to live in the south-east this month.

"We’ve been overwhelmed by the friendly welcome we’ve had since starting building work here.

"Everyone has been struck by the extraordinary transformation that’s taken place – and the choice of stylish settings for both drinks, dining and events. We’ve had so many encouraging comments from our VIP party and the practice runs – and I’m so proud to be opening such a beautiful place.”

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