Farming family set to regenerate pub

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AN ABANDONED pub has been bought by a Donnington farming family who want to regenerate it for the parish.

Owners of the wedding venue Southend Barns in Donnington announced they are now the new landlords of The Blacksmiths Arms in Donnington.

William and Mariella Fleming bought the pub last week and have revealed plans to regenerate it for local residents and visitors to enjoy.

The Fleming family have been farming in Donnington for over 50 years, and felt passionate about keeping the pub at the heart of the village instead of seeing it converted into housing.

They said they are aware they need to offer their clientele something different with declining beer sales of seven per cent a year, a regular pub serving ale can no longer survive in the current economic climate.

“Our vision is to create a destination pub offering quality entertainment and serving up good, honest and fresh food, with as much as possible sourced locally or grown on site,” said Mariella.

“Menus will include seafood platters, salads, fresh meats and nutritious snacks as well as freshly squeezed juices at the juice bar and of course a selection of good wines and beers.”

The Blacksmiths is only half a mile up the road from Southend Barns and the couple plan to convert the upstairs into four bedrooms with a restaurant downstairs and also redesign the outside area.

The Blacksmiths will be closed for around nine months while the refurbishments are being carried out and will reopen in Spring 2014 with a fresh new look and a revamped menu.

With Southend Barns located just up the road, William and Mariella hope to combine the two businesses, providing guests of the wedding couples with a place to meet beforehand as well as accommodation