Property round-up

Former poker pro acquires Canterbury pub, Melt Pub Company acquires fourth site

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

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

Related tags Property Marston's pub company Finance

The latest pub property round-up includes a done deal for a 17th century Oxfordshire pub, hopes of a full house in Canterbury, and updates from Marston’s and Melt Pub Company.

Brewery owner purchases 17th​ century Oxfordshire pub

The Tite Inn in Chadlington village has been purchased by Oxfordshire Inns Limited, a newly established property company based in the area.  

The pub’s new owner includes the CEO and owner of the nearby Chadlington Brewery, Jason Chipchase, on its management team.

Oxfordshire Inns plans to revamp the Tite Inn’s internal layout, equipment and add an outdoor cooking area as well as introducing music and comedy events to the pub’s calendar. 

Chris Field, director at Christie Finance, orchestrated the deal and secured funding for the purchase.  

“It has been an absolute pleasure working with Jason and the team to help them purchase such a remarkable and historic public house,” Field explained. “Not only will this give Jason, who is the proud owner of Chadlington Brewery, a fantastic platform from which he can sell his beer from, but also an opportunity to acquire one of the most idyllic pubs in the Cotswolds.  

“There is extraordinary potential for this business, especially in the warmer summer months when I will be taking Jason up on the offer to blow the froth off a couple of his local ales in their beer garden.”


Marston’s upgrades outdoor space at ‘almost 300 pubs’ 

The operator of in the region of 1,500 pubs, Marston’s, has announced a nationwide investment project to prepare its sites for outdoor reopening on 12 April.

“Outdoor seating at our pubs has become more important than ever, especially as we come out of lockdown,” Andy Kershaw, head of property at Marston’s, said. “We already have some of the best outdoor spaces in UK hospitality and as much as we wanted to expand, we also needed to.”

As reported by The Morning Advertiser​, Marston’s will reopen approximately 70%​ of its managed and franchised estate with outdoor areas in England on or around Monday 12 April. 

This will be followed by the reopening of the majority of its Scottish and Welsh pubs on Monday 26 April, subject to final regulatory confirmation. 

What’s more, if the Government’s roadmap proceeds as planned, Marston’s will then reopen the rest of its managed estate in England on or around Monday 17 May with restricted inside trading. 

“So far we have worked on almost 300 pubs. We have worked closely with our contractors and suppliers, as well as our property team to ensure that we are meeting not only Government guidelines on outdoor social spaces, but also ensuring that we don’t compromise on pub operations and customer experience,” Kershaw added.

“There is no one size fits all, we have to think about how the space will be used and most importantly what guests are looking for.   

“Moving through 2021 and beyond, external spaces will become even more valuable, and the industry needs to continue to provide a safe, comfortable environment for guests.”

Joseph Holt saves 18th​ century pub from closure

Brewer and pub operator Joseph Holt Brewery has saved one of Manchester’s oldest pubs from permanent closure.

The owner of 127 pubs purchased the Lower Turks Head & Scuttlers Wine Bar for an undisclosed sum.

Dating back to 1745, the former stagecoach shop joins Joseph Holt`s other central Manchester pubs – including the Ape and Apple, the Crown and Anchor, the Old Monkey, the Eagle Inn and the Shamrock, which the company purchased in 2018 and plans to reopen following a full re-development in 2022, according to Manchester Evening News​.

“Joseph Holt is deeply entrenched in the history of Manchester and sees the Lower Turks Head as part of that heritage too,” Joseph Holt marketing manager Paul Longmire told Manchester Evening News​. 

“Our brewery has a keen sense of nostalgia but as much as we treasure the past, Joseph Holt regards it as a way of guaranteeing the future of the city too. 

“We’re sure the Lower Turks Head, along with our other central Manchester pubs, will lead the way in bringing drinkers back into the city.”

Melt Pub Company to open fourth site

Warwickshire-based Melt Pub Company has announced plans to open its fourth pub in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of ambitions to run a ten-strong stable. 

Led by Chris Creasey, the operator will take on the Salmon Tail – currently owned by Ei Group – and reopen the site on Monday 17 May in keeping with the Government’s post-lockdown roadmap as an Irish pub named the Paddock.

Launched in January 2020, Melt Pub Company currently operates the Keys, the Bull and the Snitterfield Arms in Stratford-upon-Avon, with Creasey harbouring ambitions to open 10 pubs in total – five in Warwickshire and five in and around Bath. 

“It’ll be Stratford’s first Irish pub, I used to work in the export business and when you went somewhere you’d always search Irish bar or jazz bar to see if there was one nearby,” Creasey told The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald​. 

“I’m giving it a complete overhaul and I’m also planning to reopen it as a bed and breakfast, like it used to be.

Former international poker player purchases landmark Canterbury pub 

The freehold of the Monument in Canterbury has been sold to Sam Holden off a guide price of £360,000 on behalf of Kent-based brewer and pub operator Shepherd Neame.

Dating back to 1802, the Grade II listed property can be found close to Canterbury’s historic city centre, Canterbury West station, and the city’s universities campuses.

Holden, a finalist of the World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas just a year after turning professional and Canterbury resident, aims to bring the pub back to life after a year of closure. 

“Having been looking for my next project for some time, I am delighted to have completed the deal on the Monument,” Holden said. “The pub presents an exciting opportunity in an industry I am very passionate about, whilst also being in a great location in a city that I love. 

“I look forward to welcoming customers in the summer who should expect a warm welcome from me behind the bar, as well as high quality food and drink at a reasonable price.” 

The sale was brokered by Simon Chaplin, senior director of corporate pubs and restaurants in Christie & Co’s hospitality team. 


13 community-owned pubs opened in 2020

A new report from community business charity The Plunkett Foundation has uncovered increased demand for support to help communities regain control of essential local services over the past year. 

Plunkett’s Impact Report revealed a 53% increase in enquiries from groups looking to bring local amenities under community ownership and a 104% rise in the aid the charity has given to rural groups across the country – as it supported 308 projects in 2020.

This support included the opening of 13 community-owned pubs at a time when the embattled sector was hit for 2.1bn pints in beer sales and £8.2bn in lost trade, according to figures​​ from the British Beer & Pub Association.

What’s more, the UK lost in the region of 6,000 licensed premises in 2020​​ – almost three times the number closed in 2019 – according to the latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners. 

The report also flagged that £4m was raised in community shares to save local pubs.

On top of this, The Plunkett Foundation found that 12 new community shops opened in 2020, with £500,000 raised to save rural vendors.

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