A VILLAGE'S only pub is set to reopen after being shut for four years.

Pints could be pulled again in the Hare in West Hendred, near Wantage, as early as March after a full-scale renovation, creating 10 new jobs.

The pub has been closed since 2014 when then owners Greene King put it on the market, blaming a 'reduction' in the number of customers.

But current owners Star Pubs & Bars has appointed new licensees, Kate Hayden and Paul Warriner, and will spend £500,000 doing up the 200-year-old building, bringing to an end residents’ concerns about its future.

Ms Hayden said: “The pub has real charm and personality.

"Although it was boarded up, it just felt right and we knew it was the one for us.

"We’ve heard nothing but positive things about its past and have been overwhelmed by the support and warm welcome we’ve had from residents.

"As West Hendred’s only pub, The Hare is really important to village life, so people are delighted to be getting it back."

The investment will see the exterior of the clapboard building renovated and redecorated.

Its former name – The Extraordinary Hare - will be reinstated and new signage and lighting will be added along with a hare statue.

Inside the pub will also be completely refurbished, keeping and restoring original features such as timber flooring, exposed brickwork, open fires and snugs.

A new kitchen will be installed and a brick extension will replace the conservatory at the back of the pub and become a separate dining area - serving a menu of pub favourites.

Ms Hayden added: “We’ve talked to locals to find out what the village wants and the consensus is that a traditional pub is needed in the area.

"Our aim is to make The Extraordinary Hare a hub of the community and a place where people feel comfortable coming for company and a drink or to have a meal.”

The closure of the pub in August 2014 shocked villagers who said it was the centre of local life.

Residents had previously attempted to buy the building for £425,000 but it was snapped up by Star Pubs & Bars in 2015 who have been looking to reopen it ever since.

Neil Convery, the company's regional operations director said: “It has taken time to find the right licensees for The Hare but it’s in safe hands with Paul and Kate.

"As well as being highly experienced publicans, Paul is a brilliant chef, and they’re passionate about the pub.

"We’re delighted to be working with them to bring The Extraordinary Hare back to life,

"I’m fully confident that under their stewardship it will be an extraordinarily good village pub."

South Oxfordshire has been one of the hardest hit areas of the county for pub closures in recent years.

Figures revealed by the Office for National Statistics in August showed the area, while still being the district with the largest number of pubs, has lost 45 licensed premises since 2010.

West Hendred parish councillor Richard Evans said the whole village was 'delighted' upon hearing the news that the Hare would finally be brought back to life.

He added: "We cannot wait to see it open again."