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New beginning for the Farmer's Arms in Bishop's Cleeve

By RupertJ  |  Posted: June 22, 2012

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The Farmer's Arms, just outside Bishop's Cleeve on the Evesham Road, has reopened under a new licensee and her staff of family members.

After unsuccessful previous tenancies over the three years, the licence has recently been taken over by Kate Tombs. Mrs Tombs, from Breedon, had previously spent two years working at her previous pub – The Hobnails, just four miles away in Little Washbourne.

The reputation of what was originally an old country pub locally had dipped but after an extensive refurbishment, and considerable investment, Mrs Tombs and her team hope to create a high-profile new fixture in the area's pub scene.

Mrs Tombs would not reveal the extent of her financial input into the refurbishment but the lease on the Farmer's Arms is substantial. Owners Enterprise Inns advertised a guide rent of £50,000 per annum for the retail partnership lease – more than double the £20,000 per annum currently being asked for the Shutter Inn in nearby Gotherington.

Yet with its proximity to Tewkesbury and Cheltenham, the potential of the pub justifies the expense of running it.  And, with a classy new interior and an extensive yet reasonably-priced menu, the new Farmer's Arms stands to bring plenty of custom back to the pub.

Meetings have been held with the local representative of the Campaign for Real Ales (Camra) and enthusiasts will enjoy the guest ales which are planned to appear, with Oxfordshire brewery Hook Norton likely to be a regular presence.

A regular Sunday carvery will also be a big draw and Mrs Tombs hopes to attract events such as Christening parties and weddings to the extensive dining area and improved garden space.

Mrs Tombs and her staff, which includes son Oliver, daughter Gemma and her boyfriend Chris Wick, alongside chef Simon James have worked hard to raise the new pub's profile locally.

Oliver, aged 18, has distributed 2,000 flyers through letterboxes and handing them out at the local Tesco.

Mrs Tombs, who before pubs has a criminal law background working in the courts and prisons service, said: "We want to get the message out that we are here to stay. We have put quite a bit of money into this and we want to make the pub work.

"We have our first wedding booked in for July and we are attracting drinkers from all the nearby villages so it's looking good.

"I built up such a reputation at The Hobnails for good service and a friendly welcome so we're hoping to attract my old customers here as well.

"We have the football on tonight but I don't want it to be known as a sports bar. Obviously if England gets to the last few matches then I'll put it on but we are not that sort of place really.

"It's a fresh start and we want to turn it back into a good country pub."

She continued: "There are a lot of people waiting for a place like this to open and we feel that if we put the effort in then we are going to get more custom.

"Oliver has done an amazing job with the marketing and putting a face to the flyer that we have been handing out. What a fantastic effort to go out and sell the family business on the local high street."

Gloucestershire pubs and bars

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