Burdrop's infamous pub prepares for its next chapter
For over a decade the former Bishop Blaze pub in Burdrop has led a tumultuous life, having been renamed twice, planning for a change of use refused and a years of battles with both the council and villagers.
All that, however, is set to change as owners Geoff and Jackie Noquet are looking to the future as they prepare to relaunch the pub as a mecca for motorcyclists renamed the Blaze Inn Saddles.
Geoff said: "I think all the planning is history, its about where we go from here."
Inspiration for the Blaze Inn Saddles came after a visit to a Warwickshire petrol-head venue.
Geoff said: "The lightbulb moment came when we went to Caffeine and Machine, five miles outside Stratford. We drove in and were amazed at how packed it was but the emphasis was on cars but because we haven't got that much room for cars lets devote ourselves to bikers.
"We've got a terrace which we could utilise and a wonderful garden that lends itself to bikers enjoying the ride out and the spectacular views."
The pair visited the March this year while in the midst of another appeal against Cherwell District Council's planning committee decision.
Geoff said: "We were geared up to do this whether we won the appeal or not. I was getting so excited about it, even if we had won the appeal I still would have done it because I believe this new model could turn the pub around, we both do."
The pub is certainly well placed to do well in the growing biker market, located at the heart of a number of desirable riding routes and a convenient stop off for riders going on towards the Cotswolds and beyond.
"The more research we have done the more interest we have had. When we posted our Blaze Inn Saddles Facebook page we had 10,000 views in two days," said Geoff.
Their enthusiasm has been reciprocated with motorcycle groups motorcycle events already starting to pay interest in venue.
Jackie said: "I don't want to be a cosy gastro pub, that didn't work, we want to be a bikers pub. It will be a destination.
"We've had a massive interest from Bicester bikers and then there's midlands bikers, Birmingham, Coventry all over. People will see this and after we get Christmas and New Year out of the way and then we'll get a nice crisp day they'll say 'let's go to that pub' and bu next summer it will be on the map."
The pub will be open weekends only offering hotdogs, pizzas, soup and other foods as well as alcoholic drinks and coffee. The outdoor, heated area is nearing completion which in the summer will be the focal point of the inn.
The pair see its reincarnation as the start of something much bigger with ideas for merchandise, events and camping options already brewing.
The winter opening, on Sunday, November 24 from 10am, will also allow them to fine tune the pub's offerings in time for the summer riding season.
Jackie said: "We've had some time out and we just feel ready for it. It just feels right."