Saga of disused pub in Sibford takes another turn with its reopening

The saga of a disused pub and a village's ten-year campaign to get it reopened took another turn this week.
The Pheasant Pluckers Inn at Burdrop. NNL-160628-144603009The Pheasant Pluckers Inn at Burdrop. NNL-160628-144603009
The Pheasant Pluckers Inn at Burdrop. NNL-160628-144603009

Owners of the Bishop’s End – formerly the Bishop Blaize – at Burdrop, Sibford Gower said they will reopen the pub as The Pheasant Plucker’s Inn in July.

And while Geoff and Jacqui Noquet instigated garden clearing this week ahead of the opening, villagers held a packed public meeting to ensure they have the legal upper hand to take over the hostelry if the new venture fails and the property is put up for sale.

There was standing room only at the village hall when the Sibford Ferris and Sibford Gower parish councils described how they used a window of opportunity to obtain an Asset of Community Value order, giving the community first refusal on any disposal of the property.

“It doesn’t matter if the asset is trading but if ever it comes onto the market we have the right to bid,” said Sibford Gower parish chairman Oswyn Murray.

“We will be delighted if this is a success and with the Noquets all the luck. But we want to maintain the pub as a designated Asset of Community Value (ACV) which we obtained in February when the pub was briefly up for sale.

“The ACV lasts for five years so there is four years to go. The pub has been empty since the last court case when Mr and Mrs Noquet were told they could not live in the place unless it was a pub.”

Mr and Mrs Noquet, who bought the pub on the retirement of the Bishop Blaize landlord in 2006, have made unsuccessful attempts to obtain change of use consent.

Now they hope to make a success of the Pheasant Plucker’s Inn and in a press statement said they would be offering Sunday lunches with locally sourced meats, fresh vegetables, a global wine list and local beers and ciders.

Jacqui Noquet said the pub has been given a 1am licence for Friday and Saturday nights. And the couple will cater for fine dining parties.

“We are looking forward to hosting any party or celebration where (guests) can have exclusive use of the property. The garden lends itself to outdoor dining and we are proud to have a great hog roast facility available,” she said.

“We can cater for up to 50 for fine dining or 100 or more for something more casual.”