New pub landlords say secret to success is good service

Sally Hadfield and Bill Sheehan raise a glass. Picture: OX52338 Denis Kennedy

Sally Hadfield and Bill Sheehan raise a glass. Picture: OX52338 Denis Kennedy

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

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.

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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.

Comments (6)

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7:40am Tue 5 Jun 12

Cedarox says...

Poor story. The Wheatsheaf was a fantastic pub, was at the heart of the village and was very popular.

Profits were good, so GK increased rent to a ridculous level and the old landlord left.

Big act to follow. The Wheatsheaf was a village pub so not sure wat the new landlord is referring too above. Hope that he does know what people want as it was doing fine before and loads of locals will not be returning.
Poor story. The Wheatsheaf was a fantastic pub, was at the heart of the village and was very popular. Profits were good, so GK increased rent to a ridculous level and the old landlord left. Big act to follow. The Wheatsheaf was a village pub so not sure wat the new landlord is referring too above. Hope that he does know what people want as it was doing fine before and loads of locals will not be returning. Cedarox
  • Score: 0

2:32pm Wed 6 Jun 12

online_reader says...

It isn't the new landlord's fault though, is it? Why say "loads of locals will not be returning"? That'll just push him out too and before you know it GK will have the pub up for redevelopment. They'll still make a killing, whether you thumb your noses or not.
It isn't the new landlord's fault though, is it? Why say "loads of locals will not be returning"? That'll just push him out too and before you know it GK will have the pub up for redevelopment. They'll still make a killing, whether you thumb your noses or not. online_reader
  • Score: 1

7:04pm Wed 6 Jun 12

Oxford Male says...

"because they were unhappy with rent and beer prices set by pub firm Greene King." - What a familiar story.
"because they were unhappy with rent and beer prices set by pub firm Greene King." - What a familiar story. Oxford Male
  • Score: 0

8:51am Fri 8 Jun 12

wantagejack says...

Of course it's good that these pubs are staying in business, but I hope the new landlords realise what they are up against and why their predecessors left. The real issue is the effect that large pub companies are having on village locals, making it difficult for them to compete against free houses and pubs free of a beer tie who can source their beer supplies much more competitively.
Of course it's good that these pubs are staying in business, but I hope the new landlords realise what they are up against and why their predecessors left. The real issue is the effect that large pub companies are having on village locals, making it difficult for them to compete against free houses and pubs free of a beer tie who can source their beer supplies much more competitively. wantagejack
  • Score: 0

11:17am Fri 8 Jun 12

Mike in Letcombe says...

Our local pub, The Greyhound in Letcombe Regis, is no longer part of Greene King and is now an independent pub, with a good variety of beers and great food. Finally, we have a pub that the village can enjoy; the Landlords have made more changes in 2 months than Greene King did in 2 decades!
Our local pub, The Greyhound in Letcombe Regis, is no longer part of Greene King and is now an independent pub, with a good variety of beers and great food. Finally, we have a pub that the village can enjoy; the Landlords have made more changes in 2 months than Greene King did in 2 decades! Mike in Letcombe
  • Score: 0

8:38am Mon 25 Jun 12

## Nonny Mouse ## says...

Greene King are a plague on our pubs.

Ludicrous rent fees and forcing their pubs to flog their awful beers, it's like tieing one arm behind the landlords back.
Greene King are a plague on our pubs. Ludicrous rent fees and forcing their pubs to flog their awful beers, it's like tieing one arm behind the landlords back. ## Nonny Mouse ##
  • Score: 1

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