Chinese restaurant owner poised to take over The George Hotel in Chipping Sodbury
CHANGE is in the air for Chipping Sodbury’s biggest pub.
The Gazette can reveal that The George Hotel, on Broad Street, is expected to soon be under new management.
Henry Wong, who runs Henry’s Oriental restaurant above the pub premises, is in talks with one of the four owners who bought the Grade 2 listed building when it went on the market last year.
It is believed the other three owners have left the partnership and Bhinder Purewal is now negotiating a deal over the lease with Mr Wong, which is expected to be confirmed early next month.
Mr Wong told the Gazette: "Last Tuesday the owner took back control of the pub from the existing landlords.
"He is running it himself until we agree to take over the lease."
Mr Wong said that he had big plans for the building, which dates back to 1439, but would be keeping it as a public house.
"Absolutely," he said. "We think The George should function as a great local pub with multiple functions."
He added that he wanted to reassure people that the pub is open and trading as usual.
However, a tea shop opened earlier this year has closed and is not expected to reopen.
Gabrielle Orban, Mr Wong’s business partner, said: “We have yet to sign a lease with Mr Purewal and with that in mind are unable to make any definitive statements about the future of The George. We do not want to make any promises to the public and our customers that we will not be able to make good on.
“We hope to secure a lease next month and relaunch the pub. We want to help ameliorate the rocky reputation of the premises, helping it to become part of and in service of the community.
“At this stage we do not intend to separate the premises or have a separate tea room. Our intentions for that space have yet to be solidified though we have discussed using it as overflow dining space, private dining or a function room amongst others.”
The George was reopened at the start of the year by then-owners Reefe Kenley, Paul Buffery and Mr Purewal, from Surrey, alongside their accountant Furrokh Billimoria, who hoped to re-brand the ailing institution.
They spent tens of thousands of pounds refurbishing the kitchen, large bar and creating a new dining area and the tea shop. They had planned to open a 100-seat function room and resubmit plans for nine bedrooms at the back of the sprawling property.
The George was closed for several months for the refurbishment after former owner and now Beaufort Hunt landlord Mike Harrington sold the premises.
In its heyday in the naughties, The George regularly attracted large groups of revellers to its discos on Friday and Saturday nights and was popular with shoppers for lunch. But in recent years the pub was sparsely frequented.
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