TWO new landlords say they have what it takes to bring their pubs back to the forefront of village life.

Last November the Oxford Mail told how landlords wanted to leave two of the three pubs in East Hendred, near Wantage, because they were unhappy with rent and beer prices set by pub firm Greene King.

The pubs were saved, last month, when new landlord Bill Sheehan took over The Wheatsheaf, in Chapel Square, and Sally Hadfield moved into The Plough Inn, in Orchard Lane.

Mr Sheehan, who has lived in the village for 20 years, said he would make the pub a friendly place for villagers.

He said: “The reason why I have taken the pub on is because village people want a village pub.

“I know what customers are looking for. We will have a nice pub with good food.”

He said running a pub was not easy in the economic climate, adding: “It’s not easy; nobody is saying it is. But, at the same time, if you don’t look after the villagers they won’t support you.”

Mrs Hadfield, who has been in the business for 35 years, looked at 40 pubs before she choose to take on the lease at The Plough.

She said: “It’s in the right place and it’s got great potential.”

She said £10,000 had been invested in refurbishing it, adding: “We gave it a facelift.”

She said there would be a focus on food but insisted it would be a true community pub, adding: “That is what was lacking in the village. I think it’s going to refresh the pubs in East Hendred.”

Greene King spokesman Lucy Clegg said: “We are delighted that both the Wheatsheaf and the Plough have recently been taken over by two experienced and passionate licensees.

“We believe both pubs are an asset to the local community and we wish both licensees all the best for the future as they continue to welcome old and new customers.”

Neil Crook, chairman of the White Horse branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “We welcome the fact that these two pubs are remaining open and will continue to serve their local community. We wish them every success.

The Eyston Arms, in High Street, is the other pub in the village.