Hertfields signs third deal with Star, Inn Collection Group opens first Welsh site

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

Moves in time for Christmas: the latest news in the property market
Moves in time for Christmas: the latest news in the property market

Related tags: Property, Finance, Multi-site pub operators, Pubco + head office, Tenanted + leased, Branding + marketing

Among the latest property news is Hertfields and Star Pubs & Bars team up for the third time, The Inn Collection Group unveils its inaugural Welsh pub-hotel, Greene King invests in the Lion & Lamb and in a Newcastle speakeasy, brothers sell pub they’ve run for 20-plus years and Celladore takes Chichester site.

Hertfields goes triple with another Star joint venture

Hertfordshire-based events and hospitality company Hertfields is taking on its third leased pub – the Fox at Pirton, near Hitchin – following a £170,000 refurbishment with Star Pubs & Bars.

The investment has paid for the restoration of the exterior of the grade II-listed building and upgraded the interior throughout while retaining its character. Features such as inglenook fireplaces and original beams have been restored and a snug created, adding to the atmosphere.

A new kitchen will lead to a food offer in the new year while the pub will build a reputation for cask ales with up to five available. A cellar overhaul and the installation of state-of-the art dispense equipment has been included too.

Hertfields owner Steve Birch said: “The Fox will be the quintessential traditional pub with real ales, open fires and a warm welcome, whether customers want to drink and socialise or enjoy some good pub grub.

“The Fox is a great addition to our growing business. Star have been extremely flexible to work with and have fully accommodated our vision for The Fox in the designs. They used an excellent team of builders and designers, and the pub looks fantastic. We continue to look for other new projects in and around Hertfordshire.”

Star Pubs & Bars area manager Dan Hayward added: “We’re delighted to have joined forces with Hertfields at the Fox. They have just the skills required to build a successful, sustainable pub – sharp business acumen and brilliant delivery of hospitality.”

Hertfields took its first leased pub eight years ago before expanding into event management, specialising in festivals and corporate activities. Its other sites are the Red Lion at Weston and the White Horse in Arlesey.

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First Wales acquisition for The Inn Collection Group

The Inn Collection Group has taken its first Welsh site, the Swallow Falls Hotel in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park.

The Northumberland-based operator has bought the 19-room site and adjoining hostel with campsite in north Wales. The undisclosed deal is the award-winning operator’s first acquisition in Wales and its first outside of its north of England heartland.

The site will be closed while the operator The Inn Collection Group begins restoration of the building, which is located alongside the Swallow Falls waterfall in Betwy-y-Coed.

The Inn Collection Group managing director Sean Donkin said: “We are absolutely delighted to be bringing the Swallow Falls hotel into our pubs with rooms family and to have completed on our first Welsh purchase.

“We are passionate about investing in unique sites like Swallow Falls and to unlocking their potential through sympathetic restorations while preserving the character and charm that makes them such special places to eat, drink, sleep and explore from.”

The Swallow Falls Hotel is the Alchemy-backed group’s seventh purchase of 2021 with more acquisitions in the pipeline as it continues to expand with strategic ‘buy and build’ growth plans, supported with banking via OakNorth.

The Inn Collection Group’s estate includes sites in Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne & Wear, Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire. Plans have recently been approved for a 42-bedroom new build site on the seafront in Redcar, Teesside.

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Lion & Lamb roars after £280k overhaul

The Lion & Lamb in Little Canfield, near Chelmsford, has been transformed following a £280,000 joint investment from pub owner Greene King Pub Partners and new licensees Daniel and Rachel Lamprecht.

The Essex village pub, which was closed for six months, has had major structural work undertaken to remove walls and relocate the entrance. The outside has also been renovated with outbuildings demolished allowing views across the countryside and new garden furniture and lighting installed.

The pub which has retained its country feel and character also has a new up-to-date kitchen.

The Lamprechts said: “We are really excited with the new look pub and all the regulars have been so happy with the changes we’ve made. They’ve now got their beautiful village pub back and we are looking forward to seeing so many of them return.”

Greene King Pub Partners business development manager James Pearson added: “Daniel and Rachel were first interested in the pub four years ago but it wasn’t available at the time. Now on board, they are the right people for the pub and having 10 years’ experience and real passion for high-quality standards, we are delighted they are at the helm of the Lion & Lamb.”

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Brothers sell North Yorkshire pub after 20 years at helm

Brothers Robert and Edward Fawcett have sold the historic Fairfax Arms after owning the site for more than 20 years.

This pub, which is situated in the picturesque North Yorkshire village of Gilling East, among the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has seen plenty of investment in recent years in its refurbishment, extension and development, with one of the highlights being its striking atrium restaurant in 2017.

The inn comprises 12 contemporary letting bedrooms, along with a bar, snug and a superb orangery restaurant, which leads out to a landscaped beer garden overlooking a small stream has been sold by property agent Christie & Co.

The property also features a two-bedroom manager’s apartment, ample guest parking and a large catering kitchen.

The Fawcett brothers have overseen the operation of the inn while running their own separate businesses and felt the time was right to sell.

New owner Derek Gennard, who is an engineer by trade, said: “I already own a similar sized pub and so it seemed an ideal opportunity for me.

“It will be business as usual for the foreseeable future. It’s a great place and was handed over to me in such good condition, so there is no real need to change anything. It will be operated by my daughter and son-in-law, retaining its reputation as a top-quality, family-owned country pub.”

Previous owner Rob Fawcett added: “We have owned and operated the Fairfax Arms for 20-odd years but felt that the time was right to sell. We are delighted with the buyer, Derek Gennard and his family, as we think they are the perfect fit for the pub and that is very important to us, especially as he intends to continue to operate the business to the same high standards we have.”

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West Sussex gastropub acquired by Celladore

The freehold of West Sussex pub the Richmond Arms has been sold to pub company Celladore.

The West Ashling gastropub is located four miles from the Chichester Harbour Area of Natural Beauty and has built up an outstanding reputation since opening in 2010, which the new owners hope to carry on.

A spokesperson for Celladore said: “We are keen to revive a traditional bar experience in addition to the restaurant, serving fine beers and bar meals bringing back something from its past – while moving forward into the future by providing a bright, friendly atmospheric tearoom and coffee house facilities for locals and visitors alike in the daytime. The Richmond Arms looks forward to be opening early in 2022.”

The sale follows the Richmond Arms being on the market with leisure property specialist Fleurets, with Nick Earee acting on behalf of the previous owner.

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Newcastle speakeasy opens after joint £300k investment

The Exchange bar in Newcastle has become a speakeasy venue following an extensive £300,000 renovation.

The joint investment by pub owners Greene King Pub Partners and multiple operators Alan and Andrena Bowes of the Discovery Group has relaunched the city centre bar, which is located underneath Eldon Square (off Northumberland Street). 

Inside, customers can find a variety of quirky features, new booth seating, refurbished toilets and decoration made up of Prohibition-style fittings. 

Alongside the new look, a premium drinks and cocktail range is paired with a food menu to suit all tastes and dietary requirements. Its Prohibition-themed burgers and bao buns are also touted to be menu highlights.

The Bowes, who also operate eights sites in Scotland including the Barologist in Leith, have taken the Exchange as their first site in England. 

Alan, who is from north east of England, said: “We are really excited to have been able to open this great new bar in the city. We wanted to create something unique and interesting that appealed to all ages, and I think we’ve done that with the Exchange”. 

Greene King Pub Partners business development manager Sarah Barron said: “Alan and Andrena have a real understanding of what customers want and they can certainly deliver. The Exchange is a fully inclusive city centre bar that will draw in a great crowd.” 

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Victorian bar Betty Nichols on market for £235k

Specialist business property adviser Christie & Co has been instructed to sell Betty Nicols, a traditional Victorian bar located in the busy town of Kirkcaldy, along the Forth Coast in Scotland.

Established in 1992, Betty Nicols has long been one of Kirkcaldy's most popular places for drinks in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere with a food offer that is capable of being expanded further.

The business occupies a prominent position along the High Street in Kirkcaldy’s Merchant’s Quarters and features a main bar, lounge, large function room for 40 guests, with an “abundance of period charm”.

Christie & Co business agent Tony Spence, who is handling the sale, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to purchase a well-performing business with potential to increase further.

“Our clients have owned the business for six years and are now looking to retire. The business would fit well into an existing portfolio, however, it would also suit an owner-operator.”

Betty Nicols is on the market at offers over £235,000 for the freehold going concern.

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  • If you have any information regarding new openings or property details you think could be used in this weekly round-up section, along with hi-res landscape images, please email gary.lloyd@wrbm.com​​​​​​​​​​​​​ before midday on Tuesdays.

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