Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Cafe owners set to take over nearby pub

A PUB in Wargrave is set to be bought by a couple who already run a café in the same street.

Nick and Sarah Hart, who run H’artisan in High Street, have had a bid accepted to buy the Greyhound, which closed on Friday.

Last month, pub company Stonegate confirmed it had sold the freehold to a “local” buyer but refused to reveal their identity.

It is believed that the Harts plan to turn the property into a bar and delicatessen, selling wine, meat and cheese.

The couple would not talk about their plans until the purchase has been completed.

Some residents had been worried that the pub could be turned into housing and launched a Save the Greyhound campaign group to have it officially protected.

John Lion, Niamh Sandford and Stephen Porter wanted it listed as an asset of community value and made an application to Wokingham Borough Council, the planning authority.

More than 30 people have registered their support so far.

Mr Hart is a member of Wargrave Parish Council but was not at the council meeting on Monday that welcomed news of the prospective purchase.

Councillor Graham Howe said: “The new owners have invested significantly in the high street and they have helped the community enormously.”

He said the residents’ campaign was “erroneous”, adding: “I think the next use is much better and I can put my name to that.”

Councillor Marion Pope agreed, saying: “I think it will be great for the community.”

Councillor Terry Cattermole said that Steve Linstead, the previous tenant, had told him that if he had not retired, the coronavirus pandemic would have bankrupted him.

“This is quite a serious thing to go through for a business owner when we already have two other pubs in town,” he said. “I think the next use of the Greyhound might be of more value than the pub currently is.”

He said he didn’t support the asset of community value application.

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