WORK began this week on a £280,000 refurbishment of The Fox in Steventon, which will see the local transformed into a gastro pub.

Funds are being spent on a complete overhaul of the interior and exterior of the High Street pub, including the installation of a new modern bar, a commercial kitchen and upgrading six hotel rooms within the building.

The Fox, which is owned by Star Pubs & Bars, will be operated by S.I. Leisure Ltd and is set to reopen on December 1, in an upgrade that will create 20 jobs.

As part of the major refurbishment there will be three distinct areas in the pub – a snug off the main bar that can be rented for small private functions, a dining area and the main bar.

The seating and dining space is being increased by a third and the interior completely redecorated.

S.I. Leisure director, Ian Ellis, said: "The Fox will be the only gastro pub in the area using freshly cooked ingredients.

"Our intention is to offer the best food in the vicinity, but also to be a warm and welcoming pub, enjoyed by a wide range of people from families and young professionals, locals - new and old - and visitors from the nearby business community."

He added: "It will be somewhere to have a coffee and cake, a meeting, a light lunch or relaxing drink or meal with family, colleagues and friends. We are big dog lovers, so they’ll be welcome in the bar and garden area."

A key feature of the new design will be the addition of 21x15m heated covered terrace with sofas, tables and chairs for alfresco eating and drinking all year round.

The beer garden is also being relandscaped and a children’s play area installed.

Neil Convery, regional operations director at Star Pubs & Bars said: "The Fox is in a fantastic village location close to the Milton Park Business Park, the A34 and to Didcot and so will benefit from the regeneration of the town currently underway."

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