Popular gastropub with letting rooms the Wheelwrights Arms has new operators who are planning to enhance the outdoor dining facilities in its spacious gardens.
The leasehold of the 18th century inn at Monkton Combe, near Bath, has been purchased by Richard and Sandra Bauly off a guide price of £225,000 in a deal negotiated by the Hotels Agency team at commercial property advisor Colliers.
The couple are aiming to augment the significant investments made to the AA four-star rated inn by the previous licensees, and are particularly keen to make the most of its large garden overlooking the southern tip of the Cotswolds, which has seating for around 200 people.
Richard Bauly said: “The Wheelwrights Arms is a charming traditional village pub in an idyllic setting, yet close to the sophistication of Bath and with an excellent reputation as a gastropub.
“We want to build upon this successful formula, while also enhancing some of the pub’s unique features. In particular, we are planning to create an attractive al fresco dining experience in the superb gardens, with an outdoor pizza oven, barbeque facilities and more covered areas that will enable people to eat outside in comfort even if the weather is a bit cold and damp.”
The Wheelwrights Arms is positioned in the heart of Monkton Combe village, where independent boarding and day school Monkton Combe is located. It presently comprises a bar and restaurant with 45 covers, seven letting bedrooms, and a three-bedroom flat.
Peter Brunt, director in the Hotels Agency team at Colliers, said: “The Wheelwrights Arms is the quintessential English village pub, with the added attraction of a large garden that brings a range of further opportunities given the significant increase in demand for al fresco drinking and dining because of the pandemic.
“The strength of demand among buyers in the South West region for well-located hospitality businesses is very much evident, and already this year I have 10 hospitality business that have sold or which are sold subject to contract.”
The Baulys are newcomers to the hospitality industry who moved to the UK from Toronto in Canada, where Richard had spent his career in high technology communications, and managing teams, while Sandra worked as an interior designer. In their prior roles both of them had deep experience in customer service.
Richard, who lived in Buckinghamshire until he was seven before moving to Canada, said: “We will also be investing in the letting bedrooms at the Wheelwrights Arms, and Sandra will be using her interior design skills.
“While we haven’t worked previously in hospitality, I believe that excellent customer service is something which applies across all industries. Hospitality is in my DNA as my mother, who was born in Weston-super-Mare, used to work in hotels and ran a Bed & Breakfast. I also have cousins with deep experience pubs in Oxfordshire”.
“Sandra and I moved to the UK a couple of years ago as both our sons are at university in Bristol, and we started searching in Somerset for a guesthouse and pub in lockdown. We were just about to give up when we came across the Wheelwrights Arms.
“It really is everything we could have hoped for – an attractive traditional pub in a magical location and with a strong team of staff including an excellent head chef who previously worked at a Michelin restaurant. We are delighted to be the new leaseholders and to be taking the business forward.”