Property round-up

Venues saved from administration, £2.6m JDW pub plans approved

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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Two venues in Leeds' city centre have been saved from administration while JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has had plans for a new £2.6m site in Felixstowe, Suffolk, approved.

Leeds venues saved from administration 

The Morning Advertiser​ previously reported that Leeds-based APN Group – owner of Viaduct Showbar, Bar Fibre and Club Mission – had appointed Molly Monks and Darren Brookes of Milner Boardman & Partners as joint administrators after its three venues went into administration on 31 July.

However, a spokesperson for the group confirmed Viaduct Showbar and Bar Fibre have been rescued from administration, saving 102 jobs in the process, although the firm also revealed that Club Mission "couldn't be saved".

"Due to extraordinary circumstances related to Covid-19, Bar Fibre Limited, Viaduct Leisure Limited and Mission (Leeds) Limited sadly all went into administration on 31 July 2020,” a spokesperson for the three venues said.

“Fortunately, we are pleased to have been able to save 102 jobs at Bar Fibre Ltd and Viaduct Leisure Ltd. Unfortunately, Mission couldn't be saved.

“The night-time industry sector has suffered the most through the pandemic, with social-distancing measures being an anathema to the nightlife industry.

“We hope the Government extends support for the sector into 2021 to ensure it's long term survival".

£2.6m JDW pub plans given green light 

Planners at Felixstowe Town Council have signed off a set of designs for a new JDW pub in the Suffolk town’s centre at the nationwide pub operator’s seventh attempt.

Work on the £2.6m development by JDW will begin before the end of 2020 as part of the pub giant’s £200m expansion project​ to create 10,000 jobs according to reports in Ipswich Star. 

“The proposal will revitalise a derelict site with a landmark building and offer a refreshment and dining opportunity on a public square at the entrance of the town,” a spokesperson for JDW said.

“We have a strong belief in the proposed intervention and its ability to rejuvenate this piece of the Felixstowe town fabric, to provide a new urban experience.

“This, we feel, would be a positive step for the site and the area as whole.”

Natalie Webb, planning case officer for East Suffolk Council, added: “This investment signals a forward-looking confidence in the Felixstowe economy, providing employment opportunities, particularly for young people, within the hospitality and leisure sector at a time of significant economic uncertainty.”


Innis & Gunn opens new brewery taproom 

Scottish brewer and bar operator Innis & Gunn will open the latest site in its estate of Brewery Taproom bars on 21 August – joining its trio of sites across Glasgow, Dundee, and Edinburgh city-centre.

The new venue in in Leith, Edinburgh, will create 12 jobs according to Innis & Gunn, bringing the total number of employees across the retail business to around 90.

“We’re feeling incredibly fortunate to be able to continue with our growth plans during this difficult and uncertain time,” Dougal Gunn Sharp, founder and CEO of Innis & Gunn, said.

“In the past few months our team have excelled. The business is in great shape and, now that the hospitality sector is starting to open up again, we are looking to the future so that means progressing with our planned retail expansion.

“We are also pleased to be able to create jobs at a time of such uncertainly for many. We look forward to welcoming the first customers through the door from Friday. We are also committed to supporting our on-trade partners as they re-open and get back on their feet.”


Innis & Gunn

Stonegate pub reopens after £360,000 revamp

The Old Bank in York, formally known as the Graduate, has reopened following a £360,000 facelift. 

The York Press​ reported in February that Stonegate Pub Company had submitted a planning application to relaunch the Graduate as the Old Bank before the pub closed on 8 March for refurbishment.

After a reopening delayed by Covid-19 lockdown the pub is finally ready to welcome customers under new general manager Adam Johnson, who has been with Stonegate for ten years, most recently at the Mailbox in Lincoln.

“I am excited for the Old Bank to be finally open, it has been a long journey to this point,” Johnson told The York Press.​ “The pub is unrecognisable and has had an incredible transformation – from its new-look to our service proposition, it is a brand new experience.”

Historic Carlisle pub to kick off post-lockdown trade after refurb

The Milbourne Arms in Carlisle will reopen on 22 August following major upgrades completed during an extended five-month Covid-19 closure.

The owners of the pub had initially hoped to resume trading in March, however the coronavirus outbreak meant plans were pushed back by almost half a year.

Staff at the Milbourne Arms will wear replica shirts of local football club Shaddongate United, formed 124 years ago in 1896 before becoming Carlisle United – currently competing in League Two – eight years later. Shaddongate United players were even said to have used the pub as a makeshift changing room before games.

“It’s a proper pub, with proper pub food, proper beer, and proper people will really enjoy spending time here,” new manager Trevor Wall told LancsLive.

“It’s an ideal place for people to come down, enjoy a drink and maybe something to eat, have a chat and a laugh and enjoy being sociable.

“There’s lots of people for whom this will be their nearest pub, and lots of businesses nearby, and we want them to feel like this is their pub, a place for them to relax.

“We want people to feel safe and comfortable. We have got all the social distancing measures in place so that people can feel confident coming here, and can relax and enjoy themselves.

“I’ve always thought a pub should be the heart of any community, and this is very much how we want people to feel about the Milbourne Arms."

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