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Couple reveal their plans to bring village pub back to life
THE mystery couple behind the reopening of a pub in South Hinksey have revealed their plans for the business.
The General Elliot, which has been shut since 2009, plans to trade as a country pub and restaurant, and also offer eight “short let” studio rooms.
Helen and Cass Hazlewood, who live in the village, have purchased a lease on the property from Vale Breweries, and said their proposals will revitalise the venue.
Mrs Hazlewood, a mum-of-four, will manage the pub.
She said: “It will be a traditional, family friendly place to give people somewhere to enjoy a pint again.
“South Hinksey is a lovely village and everyone has been so supportive of the plans.
“I kept walking past the pub every day, thinking how sad it was that it wasn’t being used and ended up falling in love with it. I’m a big foodie as well, so I’m really excited about taking this on.”
Providing more services, such as the planned restaurant and rooms to let, was essential to making the business viable, she added.
Job interviews are taking place for chefs and pub staff, but no opening date has been decided yet.
Parish council chairman Maggie Rawcliffe said she was pleased to see a plan had been submitted.
She added: “The applicants have worked very closely with the council along the way before submission.”
Manor Road resident Adrian Porter said there was overwhelming support in the village for the couple’s efforts to re- open the pub.
It won Oxford Camra’s pub of the year award in 2007 and 2008, but closed in 2009 after the landlord suddenly left.
Since then, residents have seen off several attempts to redevelop the site for residential use, with the last controversial application to build houses on its car park being withdrawn by the agent in August 2013.
Villagers also started gathering to drink and socialise in each other’s homes, but the ‘mock pub’ scheme soon grew too large, with up to 60 people turning up at one time.
Since the Hazlewoods acquired the lease, work has begun to refurbish the building.
Plans lodged with Vale of White Horse District Council reveal a single-storey flat section will be demolished and replaced with two storeys. And the existing outbuilding will be joined to the pub and converted into toilets.
Opening hours would be 11am to 11pm Mondays to Saturdays and noon to 10.30pm on Sundays.
The district council is due to make a planning decision by the beginning of July.
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