Planning permission has been granted to restore a 256-year old Oxfordshire village pub badly damaged by fire just a week before Christmas. 

Community pub company, Hawthorn Leisure, which owns The Kings Arms, in Wheatley, expects to begin work on the popular pub in September, with long-term pub partner, Maria O’Brien, who has run the pub for fourteen years, remaining at the helm.

Dating from 1764, the Church Road pub was badly damaged by a fire that broke out on 17 December. No-one was injured in the blaze, but it caused serious structural damage, including to the roof. Given the age of the pub, the process for approving renovation plans took longer than first anticipated, leading some in the village to fear that the pub may never reopen.

Hawthorn Leisure Director of Leased and Tenanted Operations, Andy Parker, welcomed the approval of the company’s plans: “We’re grateful to the local authorities for giving us the go-ahead to begin work on renovating The Kings Arms. Maria is a first-class operator, and we’re looking forward to getting started on the restoration and working with her to make the Kings Arms better than ever.”

Hawthorn Leisure, which owns more than 700 community pubs across England, Scotland and Wales, has been working closely with local authorities to ensure reconstruction and a proposed redesign will take into consideration the building’s Grade II-listed status, which protects features that include historically important interior mouldings.

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