ABINGDON’S Saxton Arms has been sold to newly-formed pub giant Hawthorn Leisure.

Greene King has sold the pub in Saxton Road – along with Ock Street’s Cross Keys, as reported in the Oxford Mail earlier this month – as part of a £75.6m national deal.

A spokeswoman for the firm said: “As part of Greene King’s strategy to reduce the size of its tenanted and leased estate, we have agreed the sale of the Saxton Arms to Hawthorn Leisure.

“It will continue to operate as a pub.”

She said The Punch Bowl and the Black Swan, the two other Greene King tenanted pubs in Abingdon, were not sold and will operate as normal. And The College Oak – a Greene King managed pub – was not included in the sale.

Greene King announced the sale of 275 tenanted and leased pubs across the UK to Hawthorn Leisure on May 1, but did not specify which they were.

Hawthorn Leisure is a new investment company backed by New York global investment firm Avenue Capital and London’s May Capital.

Steve Green, Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) pubs officer for Abingdon, welcomed the news but questioned Hawthorn’s long-term plans.

He said: “I know some people are a bit sceptical and think it sounds like the sort of company that might just turn them into flats.”

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