Saturday, 13 August 2022

Old village pub set to re-open

A VILLAGE pub is set to re-open next year after plans to modernise it were approved.

A VILLAGE pub is set to re-open next year after plans to modernise it were approved.

The Bottle and Glass pub in Binfield Heath, which is Grade II listed, was bought by the Phillimore Estate from Brakspear for more than £400,000 in August last year.

The new owner plans to add a two-storey extension to increase the capacity to 80 covers and refurbish the pub while the car park will be moved from the front to the back of the pub and a three-bedroom house built in its place.

It is hoped the work will begin next month after planning permission was granted by South Oxfordshire District Council.

Adrian Beales, of Savills, which handled the pub’s purchase for the estate, said: “The estate are absolutely delighted and keen to crack on with the extension and refurbishment of the pub to get it open as soon as possible.

“The building project is likely to take about nine to 10 months. We will be looking to get the pub re-opened towards the end of the summer next year.

“The planning took a little longer than we had hoped for and anticipated because we had to address some concerns over acoustics.”

Mr Beales said the pub would be transformed. “It will be beautifully and sympathetically restored and extended to a high standard,” he said. “We’re significantly extending the premises in order to provide the additional covers to make it viable.”

The pub will be let and it is hoped the tenant will sell beer from the Loddon Brewery, which is on the estate in Dunsden.

Mr Beales added: “During the building works we will continue to try and find a suitable tenant. We’ve already had a number of expressions of interest but we just want to get the building project a little bit further forward so people can see what exactly is there.

“Ultimately, the final decisions on the types of food served will be down to the tenant but we will obviously be keen to find out what their business plans are and what they want to do to make sure we’re happy with the general ethos and the offer they are going to make.”

In the decision notice, the district council’s head of planning Adrian Duffield said the plans would be in keeping with the rural character and appearance of the site and surrounding area and would preserve the landscape qualities of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He added: “The development would preserve the setting of the listed building and would not result in significant harm to neighbouring amenity or highway safety.”

The application received the support of Binfield Heath Parish Council and several residents.

But neighbour Clare Lynch, of Heath Drive, objected, saying: “I am concerned by escalation of traffic in Bones Lane that would surprise dog walkers, cyclists and horses, with cars suddenly coming from behind the pub. A house in the car park would spoil the Bottle and Glass character.”

Joe Douglas, who lives at Sunnyview, the pub’s only direct neighbour, said he supported “reasonable” refurbishment of the Bottle and Glass but he had not been consulted about the plans.

He said: “The pub has always been a peaceful neighbour and has never disturbed the atmosphere of peace and birdsong of Sunnyview’s charm. These plans far exceed expectation of a simple local desire to re-open this old pub we all know and love in a sustainable manner.”

The Bottle and Glass closed in 2013 after having a succession of landlords. The parish council registered the pub as an asset of community value, meaning the community had six months to bid on a property before it could be sold on the open market.

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