Punch reopens historic sites after six-figure investment

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Pleased as Punch: the Devonshire Arms and John Walker Tavern have been overhauled as part of Punch’s £32m plans
Pleased as Punch: the Devonshire Arms and John Walker Tavern have been overhauled as part of Punch’s £32m plans
Punch has reopened two pubs following transformation projects costing close to £1m.

Punch has announced that it has finished renovations and reopened both the Devonshire Arms in Hartington near Buxton in Derbyshire, and the John Walker Tavern in Stockton-on-Tees in County Durham, at a combined cost of £962,000.

The operator of 1,300 pubs across England, Scotland and Wales invested £620,000 to transform the Grade II-listed venue in the Derbyshire Peak District – installing Punch multiple operator Chris Hannon’s Coastal & Country Inns as new landlord as part of the process.

In addition, £342,000 was spent revamping the pubco’s historic Stockton-on-Tees site, which celebrates the town’s ties to John Walker, the original maker of the friction match and one-time supplier to King William IV.

The projects form part of Punch’s £32m planned investment in its community pubs in 2019.

Punch (2)

Ideal partnership

The project to revamp Hartington’s Devonshire Arms involved full-scale internal and external refurbishment – including the transformation of three en-suite letting rooms and a complete overhaul of the pub’s garden.

“The Devonshire is one of our biggest investments to date, and we are incredibly pleased with the new look created,” Punch managing director Andy Spencer said.

“Matching this fantastic pub with our new publican Chris, who brings a wealth of experience and expertise, will ensure the pub’s long-term success within the community.”

The venue becomes the fifth under experienced multiple operator Hannon, and his first venue with Punch.

“We are really pleased to be at the Devonshire – the pub and rooms look fantastic,” Hannon explained.

“Together with Karen and the team, we are really looking forward to putting the Devonshire back on the map.

“Creating a real destination and welcoming the local community and visitors alike to enjoy their time with us all year round.”

Punch (1)

Communal hub

Work on the John Walker Tavern included a complete internal refurbishment sympathetic to both the town’s historic ties to royal matchmaking and the Stockton & Darlington railway – the first railway to operate freight and passenger services with steam traction.

As part of the refurbishment project, the pub – which is part of Punch’s Mighty Local retail concept – will see new publicans Joanna Oliphant and Denise Hamilton inherit the site.

“This is a significant investment by Punch in this town centre community pub with our new publicans, Joanna and Denise,” Spencer explained.

“This pub will be the hub of the community with fully accessible facilities incorporated in the investment. We have sport, music and community events planned.”

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