The Purefoy Arms re-opened at on Thursday 31st May
The Purefoy Arms, the 18th century public house and restaurant in Preston Candover re-opened its doors on Thursday, 31 May, after a major refurbishment and with a new tenant, award-winning chef Gordon Stott, who successfully re-invigorated the Sun Inn, beside the A30 at Dummer, in recent years. Many local residents filled the bar on Thursday evening in celebration of the villages iconic pub being back in business.
The Purefoy closed last October and many residents feared the worst when the owners, Red Oak Taverns, applied for planning permission to convert part of the premises into separate residential properties for sale.
A campaign initiated by a small group of Preston Candover residents gathered some 120 objections to the planning proposals and the village is still awaiting the outcome.
Jonathan Marriott, who initiated the campaign against Red Oak’s plans says: “I’m sure you are absolutely delighted that Gordon has taken over the Purefoy. Many of you will know him as the very talented chef who was running the Sun at Dummer very successfully, I’m sure everyone will support him.
“Gordon tells me that they are already fully booked in the restaurant and one table booked in the bar but they have left the rest of the bar free for drinkers and walk-in diners on Thursday.
“A very warm welcome to the Candover Valley Gordon!
“We hope the investment and tenancy that Gordon has secured from Red Oak indicates a change in direction from them, however we fear that the threat hasn’t gone away completely and if residential planning was granted now it would still negatively impact the pubs long-term viability, and the village, for all the reasons we have previously discussed. Let’s hope Red Oak have now changed their strategy for the Purefoy and are satisfied for it to be run as a successful pub and restaurant.”
But Alison Davidson issued a note of warning: “We’re not out of the woods yet!
“If you are wondering about the progress of the planning applications, I have spoken to the Planning Officer who says that the Planners are still waiting for further information regarding highways matters. He told me that he knows the applicants are preparing it, and has given them until 15th June.
“The fact that they are asking for additional information means that the planners think there is a possibility that the applicants could make their application fall within planning policy. The planning officer didn’t say this, but from experience I know that generally, if a local authority thinks that an application has no chance of progressing then, they don’t ask for further information.”
The message is that all in the villages and Valley still need to be vigilant!