Property round-up: Robinsons grows estate to 260 pubs

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Property moves: which sites have been reopened, revamped or changed hands in the past week?
Property moves: which sites have been reopened, revamped or changed hands in the past week?

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Stockport-based brewer and pub operator Robinsons has grown its pub estate to 260 sites, while Punch, St Austell and Shepherd Neame added new venues to their portfolios.

Robinson’s acquires new Cheshire site

Family run Stockport-based brewer and pub operator celebrated its 181st birthday early with the acquisition of the Egerton Arms, near Broxton, in a private deal from Marston’s.

Founded in October 1838, Robinsons’ latest purchase grows its pub stable to 260 sites.

“We are thrilled to welcome this historic Cheshire pub to our family,” William Robinson, the managing director of Robinsons’ pub division said. “We aspire to offer great hospitality experiences to our customers and the Egerton Arms is a wonderful example of a pub that does just that; having traded successfully for many years under the management of Jeremy Woodward and his team.

“We are delighted that the entire management and staff team will join us for the next phase of the pub’s evolution.

“This continues our aim to develop our tenanted and managed estates through strategic investment and acquisition of pubs that are either trading well or have the potential to do so. 

“Our like-for-like tenanted operating growth in 2018 was fuelled by well-placed pub investments, acquisition and training, and we wouldn’t rule out further acquisitions into either side of our pub estate if the right opportunities become available. 

“This is typically where a good food and drink offer would work in a village or neighbourhood setting with letting rooms as an added bonus.”

New publicans take on site after traffic jam

Husband-and-wife team Dean and Jan Ball have taken on the Bay Horse in Otley, West Yorkshire, after they saw it was available while stuck in traffic.

The 250-year-old pub, which has been given a £50,000 joint refurbishment by its new operators in partnership with Hawthorn Leisure, will reopen on 12 October.

The work has been welcomed by the Otley Pub Club, led by former MP Greg Mulholland, who said: “Otley Pub Club is delighted that the much-loved Bay Horse, one of the town’s oldest pubs, will be reopening, and we welcome Dean and Jan as licensees.

“We're pleased that this unique pub has now had much-needed investment, including, at last, moving the gents’ toilets inside, and we commend Hawthorn Leisure for doing this and investing in a partnership with Dean and Jan.

“We look forward to the Bay Horse once again serving the community and playing an important part in the town's tourism, with its key location in Otley's marketplace. This this another piece of good news for Otley, and we wish Dean and Jan every success.”

Bay Horse

Punch takes on North Yorkshire pub restaurant

The operator of around 1,300 pubs across the UK, Punch, has taken on three-storey, end-of-terrace pub restaurant the Derwent Arms in Norton, close to Malton, North Yorkshire.

The pub, which was sold as a freehold off an asking price of £699,950, boasts a bar and dining area for up to 36 covers in addition to a separate games area with a dartboard and pool table, plus a stage for live music performances.

Retiring licensees John and Sheila Rushworth – who ran the site for 18 years – commented: “We loved running the pub and will miss our customers immensely. 

“We have now moved into our new home and are very much looking forward to our retirement.”

14th century pub gets £330,000 makeover

North-west-based multiple operator Ross Robinson and Heineken’s pub arm – Star Pubs & Bars – have teamed up to revamp what is thought to be the oldest pub in Fylde, Lancashire.

The Ship at Freckleton on the Fylde coast will close between 14 October and 24 November while the £330,000 refurbishment – which will increase the pub’s seating capacity from 90 to 120 and add a ‘captain’s deck’ seating area to the first floor – takes places.

The site is Robinson’s second project with Star in six months following the refurbishment of the Eagle, at Weeton, in North Yorkshire, which saw a 500% increase in post refurbishment trade.  

“The Ship at Freckleton is a lovely country pub but needed investment and a bit of love,” Robinson commented. “Fifteen years ago it was thriving but, in recent times, it has become dated and tired leading to some villagers choosing to go further afield. It’s in a fantastic location and has some great features, which are being retained and enhanced. 

“We’ve been delighted with the two refurbishments we’ve done with Star Pubs & Bars and are on the lookout for more well-located sites. Our plan is to take on another pub in April and at the end of 2020, bringing our estate to five.”

Roundup (5)

St Austell Brewery acquires the Windmill Inn

Family-owned Cornish brewer and pub operator St Austell has announced the addition of the Windmill Inn, near Staple, in west Somerset to its tenanted estate.

The Inn, located in the Quantock Hills area of natural beauty joins St Austell’s estate of more than 175 pubs and hotels across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Bristol and the Isles of Scilly.

The brewer of Tribute Cornish Pale Ale and owner of Bath Ales revealed the Windmill Inn will be run by new tenants Craig and Karen Holmes.

St Austell’s retail director Steve Worrall said: “This is a really exciting acquisition for the company and a great opportunity for Craig and Karen to drive this wonderful inn forward.

“As a business, we have an ongoing strategy to strengthen our award-winning estate of pubs and hotels across the south-west and beyond.”

Robinsons reopens pub after £220,00 revamp

Stockport-based brewery Robinsons has reopened the White Horse in the Cheshire village of Disley following a £220,000, five-week, transformation.

The pub, which was purchased by Robinsons in June 1949, has been re-established as the fulcrum of its rural community by the brewer and operator of 260 pubs, which has installed a new oak bar as an eye-catching centrepiece.

“I am delighted at the amazing transformation that the White Horse has undergone, the pub is unrecognisable,” licensee Amy Waddington-Green said.

“Our customer base has been hugely extended to include some of the more youthful residents of the village. And, on a personal note, I am very proud to be running the best-looking pub in Disley and excited to see what the future holds.”

Roundup (3)

Shepherd Neame takes on historic Kent pub

Kent-based brewer and pub operator Shepherd Neame has acquired the Crown in Rochester to grow its pub portfolio to 323 sites across London and the south-east.

The 18th century pub, which has been run by father-and-son team Steve and Peter Kray for the past decade, will continue to be run by Peter for Shepherd Neame while his father Steve retires.  

“We are always looking for opportunities to add high-quality outlets to our estate,” Shepherd Neame’s director of retail and tenanted operations Nigel Bunting explained.

“The Crown is a great pub in a fantastic location, and we are confident that it will prove a valuable addition to our portfolio.

“We look forward to working with Peter and the team to ensure that the Crown’s offer continues to go from strength to strength.”

Fleurets’ Simon Bland, who brokered the deal, commented: “The Crown is a doyen of the city centre, serving customers since famous local resident Charles Dickens’ time.

“It’s a pub in the finest tradition and I’m delighted to have facilitated the sale of such a well-known hostelry to Britain’s oldest brewer.”

Roundup (2)

Boutique bar to open on Margate seafront

Boutique craft beer and cocktail bar Little Swift will open on Margate seafront on 13 October in a site previously occupied by BottleShop Margate, which fell into administration in March this year.

Offering craft ale, organic and biodynamic wines and handmade seasonal cocktails, Little Swift will be run by operators Steve Taylor and Charlotte Kimber and focus on using sustainably produced products and ingredients.

“This bar is about linking up our passions for gardening and bartending; it’s about making a long-term investment in Margate, in our coastal cocktail garden and the wider ecology of the lands farmed by our producers,” Taylor explained.

“It will be great fun making wine as accessible as we have made craft beer in the past 10 years. We intend to stock drinks producers and importers that ensure as much organic health is put back into the soil, as is taken from it.” 

To find out more about pubs for sale, lease and tenancy visit our property site​.

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