Property round-up

Wedding pot spent on pub garden, Star invests £1m in Scottish sites

By Stuart Stone

- 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?

Related tags MA500 Finance Freehouse Pubco + head office Property Tenanted + leased

A number of regional operators including Robinsons, Inn Collection Group and Priory Inns North West have unveiled revamped sites after sizeable recent investment.

Robinsons pumps £1m into Y Bryncynan pub refurb

Stockport-based brewer and pub operator Robinsons has invested £1m in the transformation of the historic Y Bryncynan pub at Morfa Nefyn on Wales’ Lleyn Peninsular.

“It’s been a long couple of months, and we’ve been itching to reopen, so you can imagine the relief now that we have finally opened our doors again,” general manager Heidi Bakewell, said. “The changes to the pub are incredible and we’ve already had many of our locals express how pleased they are with the new look.”

The pub, parts of which are understood to be more than 200 years old, now boasts a new oak bar and has been re-decorated in keeping with the character of the original building. What’s more the historic pub’s new patio area features a row of bookable beach huts for guests as they return post-lockdown.

“Y Bryncynan is a great example of a pub that can be enjoyed by everyone no matter what age,” Robinsons’ retail operations manager, Ellis Wardle, added. “We were very keen to ensure that the pub can serve both its local community around Nefyn and Pwllheli, whilst still catering to holiday makers who travel to the area. 

“I know Heidi and the team are raring to go and can’t wait to welcome everyone back. We also have all the necessary Covid secure measures in place to ensure customers feel as safe as possible.”


Inn Collection Group sinks seven-figures into second Lake District site

Award-winning pub operator the Inn Collection Group has reopened the 42-bed Coniston Inn under husband and wife team John and Anita Dodsworth after a multi-million-pound refurb which is expected to create 40 new jobs. 

Following an 18-month revamp, the venue in the Furness region of Cumbria, in the southern part of the Lake District National Park, opened on Saturday August 1 after the Inn Collection Group gave the traditional slate building – which has been a hotel for over a century – an extensive refit. 

New features include direct lake access from the inn’s private jetty as well as four acres of mature gardens. Additionally, a redesigned bar and dining area has created open-plan areas for customers to dine or enjoy drinks, while maximising lake and fell views.

“It’s been a long time in the making but the end product is second to none,” John Dodsworth said. “We’ve been waiting for this day for 18 months and seeing the doors finally open fulfils a long-standing dream.

“We are so pleased to see everything we’ve been working on for so long come to life. It will be a great asset both for people living in the community here in the Coniston area and for visitors alike.”

With green credentials in mind, the inn’s upgrades also include a sustainable reed bed water purifying system, a biomass boiler and a herb garden for the on-site kitchen.


Star Pubs and Bars kicks off £1.04m investment in Scottish sites

Two Glasgow pubs are benefiting from more than half-a-million pounds worth of upgrades as part of a £1.04m investment in Scotland’s West Central Belt by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars – which is expected to create 30 new jobs.

Work will start on a £325,000 makeover of the Princess in Riddrie on 10 August before a planned October reopening, while the Drum in Shettleston reopened on 3 August following a £210,000 refit.

The joint investment at the Princess is being undertaken with mother and daughter team, Adrienne Greenaway and Victoria Asghar, who have run the pub for nearly 20 years.

“The Princess is a hub of the community and regulars are missing it terribly,” Ashgar explains. “We want to give Riddrie a really great local, so hopefully people will feel it’s worth the wait. 

“We’ll be able to properly cater for women, families and senior citizens for the first time. We’ll have everything from special meals for children to prosecco for ladies’ get-togethers.

“Residents won’t have to travel into the centre for a meal, entertainment or a fantastic night out anymore, it’ll all be on the doorstep. For those concerned about using public transport during the pandemic, that should be a real added bonus.”

Star’s seven-figure Scottish programme also budgets for upgrades to the Abbey Bar in Paisley as well as the Spateston Inn, formerly known as the Osprey, in Spateston.

“We’re firm believers in the future of community locals,” Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, said. “In challenging times such as these, they’re even more important to the residents they serve. 

“However, they need to keep pace with pubgoers’ changing expectations. These refurbishments will reward regulars for their loyalty and attract the new customers pubs need to thrive for the long term. 

“This investment also underlines the benefits of the tied pubs model for licensees. It comes at a time when the lower risk and higher support of the tied model in Scotland is in danger of being jeopardised by The Tied Pubs Bill now being considered by the Scottish Parliament.”

Of Star Pubs & Bars’s predominantly tenanted estate of around 2,500 pubs, 240 are in Scotland with more than 50 found in the Glasgow area alone.


£480,000 refit for 10th​ Priory Inns North West site

The Big Lock in Middlewich, Cheshire, has reopened following a six-month, six-figure, facelift from Priory Inns North West.

The completion of the £480,000 revamp has allowed Priory Inns North West's 10th​ pub, its third with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, to open for the first time since February after the Government’s Covid-19 enforced closure period turned an initial six-week refit into a six-month project. 

“The reopening of the Big Lock has been a long time coming but well worth the wait,” licensee Neil Sparkes said. “Early indications are that it is going to be a popular place. 

“Customers are delighted by the stunning transformation, by the fantastic space that has been created and The Big Lock’s canal side location.  It has been a joy to open the doors and provide a relaxing and safe environment for customers to socialise in.”

Star Pubs & Bars business development manager Andrew Jamieson added: "We were close to reopening when lockdown occurred.  

“The last stage of the building work took longer because of health and safety measures we had to implement for the builders.  However, that is all behind us.  The pub is now a fantastic dog friendly village pub which locals love.”


Star licensee ploughs £20,000 wedding pot into pub garden revamp

Star Pubs and Bars licensee Hayley Lewis has given Swanea’s Wern Inn a £20,000 garden makeover using money set aside for her daughter’s wedding – which was cancelled due to Covid-19.

The alfresco space now boasts two covered areas, astro turf, a bar, big screens for watching sports and seating for 80 guests.

“We wanted to give the garden the wow factor,” Lewis said. “It has proved a real hit. 

“People in Swansea are desperate to go out; they’ve been coming from across the city. We’ve reached maximum capacity most days even when it has rained. As so many travel plans have been jeopardised, people are really appreciating the garden’s holiday vibe.”

Swansea born-and-bred Lewis took over the Wern Inn four years ago and contributed to a £220,000 refurbishment with Heineken’s pub arm last year

“The Wern is the heart of the community, so residents were gutted when we had to close,” she continued. “We’ve got a loyal following of older regulars who’ve been coming to the Wern for well over 20 years. 

“Many of them are cautious about going out and will be more comfortable inside the pub. They’re looking forward to coming back and enjoying some much-needed laughter and banter.”


Puttshack tees up sites for August restart 

Indoor mini golf venue operator Puttshack is preparing to reopen its sites from 8 August, starting with its site in London’s White City, followed by its venue in Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock, Essex. 

A number of Covid secure measures will be par for the course once trading resumes, however, with team members to wear branded masks, receive temperature checks before every shift and expected to regularly wash their hands throughout the day. 

Puttshack will only permit parties of up to six people, with guests required to register their team online – enabling contactless check-in. What’s more, visitors will be able to scan a QR code with their phone to order food and drink straight to their table.

Hand sanitiser will also be readily available throughout all venues, with clubs and golf balls to be cleaned after every use.

“Puttshack has always focused on delivering a great, vibrant experience, something that we feel our guests need now more than ever,” Puttshack’s chief development officer, Hugh Knowles, said.“However, we wanted to ensure we had the right protocols and procedures in place so that our teams and guests can return safely, whilst being able to have fun and reconnect with friends and family. 

“Unlike traditional mini golf operators, our technology allows us to easily implement social distancing on the courses whilst providing the same good, clean, and fun environment our guests are accustomed to experiencing at Puttshack. 

“Although the last few months have been incredibly challenging, we’re really excited to pick up our putters again, get back on the course and welcome guests back.”

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