Village gets its pub back after lengthy closure

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The real ales will soon be back flowing in the village of Woodmancote as its only pub looks set to re-open after a nine month absence.

The Woodmancote Arms, in Woodmancote Lane, closed down last year, and rumours were rife that it was going to be pulled down and made good for housing.

But new owner John Miller has come out of semi retirement from Spain to take on a new challenge in the picturesque village.

The 62-year-old has been abroad for the past 18 months, and was visiting friends in the area nine weeks ago when he spotted the pub was up for sale.

Now he is just weeks away from opening after an extensive re-fit of the bar and dining area, as well as the addition of a cosy library room where visitors can relax in big chairs.

“I wasn’t looking for anything,” he said. “We were on holiday, I still have connections in the area, and for one reason or another we bought it.

“We have totally refurbished it. There was talk of it being pulled down and housing put here. I got fed up with semi retirement in Spain and I came back and took this on as a challenge.

“I have had a lot of good response from the neighbours because they didn’t want the pub to close down.”

Mr Miller has good knowledge of the area having previously run a chain of pubs and restaurants along the south coast, including The Bosham Inn, in Bosham, and the Winterton Arms in Boxgrove.

He is hoping to carry on his success with a mix of real ales which he will rotate every few weeks, and good pub grub, which is in the hands of his partner Jim Paget.

“It’s going to be real ales and home cooked food, most pubs have to be food orient-ated,” he said.

“We are hoping to attract the local people as much as possible, it will be a local venue.

“The food pricing will suit most people’s pocket.

“In the early days we were the first to do it before all the good chains came in.

“All of our bars had restaurant and food areas.”

He has been in the pub game all his life, quite literally, as he grew up in the surroundings of the Jolly Sailor in Southsea, Portsmouth which his parents ran.

He is not planning a big opening party, and will instead open quietly in the coming weeks.