The owners of a renowned “foodie haven” in Warwickshire have placed their pub on the market after claiming they have been the targets of a hostile social media campaign.
Jacqueline Harding and Steve Allely bought the Grade II listed Fox and Hounds back in 2015 when the Great Wolford pub was trading at a low level and spent £40,000 on a refurbishment programme aimed to try to boost trade.
But the new look pub – which dates from the 1540s – ran into a hostile social media campaign in the village and the owners have called in real estate company Colliers International to help them to sell the property.
Peter Brunt, a director with the real estate agency’s hotels team, said it was one of the most “unusual cases” he had come across. He said: “I had sold the pub to the current owners in 2015 but for whatever reason Jackie and Steve’s refurbishment did not sit well with some of the locals who began a hostile social media campaign calling on people to boycott the business.
“This has hamstrung Jackie and Steve’s attempts to turn the business around and they have been forced, reluctantly, to place this genuinely delightful pub on the market with offers invited in the region of £550,000.”
A website set up by resident Wendy Veale called www.savegreatwolfordpub.co.uk and headlined ‘Rescue the Fox and Hounds Inn’, has a statement which reads: “The pub has been immensely popular and successful in the past but was bought in May 2015 by Steve Allely and Jacqueline Harding. The village supported them at first but soon found that their hospitality was…well the business didn’t thrive.”
On the website it is claimed Harding and Allely closed the pub after less than a year of opening it and were living in it as a private house. It also said they submitted planning permission to turn it into two houses, this was later withdrawn in October. The website then reads: “We are determined not to lose our Pub [sic].”
Described as the “quintessential unspoiled English country inn”, the Fox and Hounds is near tourist hotspots of Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton in Marsh.
Peter Brunt added: “The inn is presently closed but could be a real foodie haven. It has been at the heart of the village since 1540 and lies at the centre of a network of ancient footpaths and bridleways which makes it particularly attractive for walkers. It now has an Asset of Community Value notification registered on it. The Fox and Hounds is everything you would hope to find in a pretty Cotswold village.”
The pub currently has three letting rooms along with two bedroomed owners’ accommodation. It has flagged floors, low beams and huge open fireplace.