VILLAGERS will soon be toasting the re-opening of their beloved pub after an entrepreneurial husband and wife team stepped forward to run it.
Greg and Caroline Saturley and their family have moved into the former Bell and Castle pub in Horsley with plans to re-launch the local as The Hog before the end of May.
The outcome is the ideal result for villagers, who had pledged £250,000 to keep the premises open as a pub after the building’s owners put it on the market.
A committee of Horsley residents first discussed the possibility of the pair running the pub after visiting their thriving Canteen restaurant in Nailsworth.
Father-of-two Greg said: “It is really the most remarkable journey from The Canteen to The Hog as the villagers visited my place in Nailsworth out of the blue.
“They paid us the ultimate compliment when they asked to see the cooking facilities and said they wanted to show how wonderful things can come out of a small kitchen.
“They liked our ethos of sourcing local food and after discussions about us running the pub we decided it would be a great opportunity.”
The pub has been at the centre of four different planning applications since it closed its doors in 2008, the last of which considered building three houses on the site.
Villagers had previously attempted to buy the building themselves but their bid was rejected by owners Stag Developments Ltd as it fell short of the £400,000 asking price.
Mark Carden, who chaired the residents’ committee, said everyone was delighted with the outcome, despite their own attempt to purchase the pub failing to materialise.
“This is a great result, given that our negotiations with Stag Developments had stalled for the moment,” said Mark, a recruitment consultant who has lived in the village for nearly 20 years.
“Of course, many of us will feel some regret, after all the work that has been done, that we will not be buying the pub for ourselves.
“But it will also be a relief for many that we will not have to invest our own money, and more of our time, to ensure that the pub opens.”
Greg and Caroline will initially run the pub as a leasehold but hope to purchase the business outright later in the year.
Caroline added: “The aim is to make The Hog an exciting and contemporary eatery as well as a popular pub.
“The ethos will be to give people what they want and having the support of the local community is essential.”