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Ensuring village pub doesn’t close
A PARISH councillor has stepped in to save her local pub despite having no experience in the industry.
The Star Inn, in Sparsholt, was put up for sale by pub company Punch Taverns last year and has been run by temporary landlords since.
In September the Oxford Mail reported how villagers were contemplating a community buy-out to save the pub from closure or housing developers.
But Sparsholt parish councillor Caron Williams has stepped in to buy the pub, although she would reveal the purchase price.
Mrs Williams, who works as an interior designer, said: “We just thought we would try and save it and see if we could make it work.”
She said as the village was so small the pub needed to serve great food to attract customers from outside.
And the pub’s new chef Mehdi Amiri has worked at restaurants owned by top chefs Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal, and Raymond Blanc.
But the new landlord said she was keen to keep the locals happy too.
She said: “It’s a fine balancing act keeping the locals happy and bringing people in from afar.
“But the people in the village have been great. I couldn’t have asked for more support.
“I am part of the community as well and I am just as keen for it to work as anybody.”
The mum-of-four said the pub had been extensively restored and had a new kitchen and toilets.
Villager Richard Ogden, 39, of West Street, said: “They are doing good things.
“They have a great chef there and good food.
“It’s just a much nicer place now. And it has been very much welcomed by the community. You can tell already that it has a real buzz about it. It has been very much turned around.”
Oxfordshire County Councillor Iain Brown, who lives in the village, said: “We were delighted because a local family has got the pub.
“There was a real danger developers would have bought the pub and turned it into housing.
“It’s a top result for the village. It’s better than we could have hoped for. Without the pub village life doesn’t have a nucleus really.”
Neil Crook, chairman of the White Horse Branch of Campaign for Real Ale, added: “We are delighted that this important village facility has been saved from closure by a local resident, and will continue to serve the local community.
“We wish the new owners every success.
“We hope that the independent Star can now flourish again as the centre of the village.”