Sunday, 20 August 2017

Flood hit pub to be refurbished

MORE than £50,000 of improvements are set to be carried out at a pub hit by the winter floods.

The Flowing Spring, near Playhatch, lost business because its car park was under several feet of floodwater from before Christmas until late February.

It was the second year running that landlords Nick Willson and his wife Hazel Lucas have suffered the problem.

Despite this, the couple have signed another three-year tenancy agreement with Fuller’s, the pub’s owners, in order to oversee the investment. Mr Willson said the brewery planned to raise the level of the car park to prevent it from being flooded in the future. The work will cost £30,000 to £50,000 and consultants employed by Fuller’s are in talks with the Environment Agency and South Oxfordshire District Council.

“We were open throughout the flooding but with no car park it was difficult,” said Mr Willson. “This will make a huge difference. It means the car park will be accessible for the vast majority of the time. People will be aware they can park and that it’s business as normal.”

Mr Willson said the brewery was sympathetic to the couple’s plight during the floods and waived their rent.

“I think it’s brilliant for a brewery to do that and it shows how much support they have got for Hazel and me,” he said.

The pub also has plans for a new £25,000 function room, separate to the pub, to be built by the summer. It could be used for breakfast and lunch as well as for weddings and parties and would be accessible all-year round. The couple are also hoping that Fuller’s will pay to refurbish the pub kitchen. Mr Willson said the brewery was “very happy” with what he and his wife were doing at the pub and had not raised their rent.

It means we can carry on building the business,” he said. “The more established we become the more stable the business is and so we’re here to stay. Fuller’s now see it as such a viable business and a secure part of their estate and they are very happy to put money in to see it develop further.”

The couple celebrated their new tenancy agreement with a party attended by about 200 people.

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