Christmas cheer and early presents mark Oakman Inns’ first decade

Oakman Inns & Restaurants, which opened the doors of its first pub ten years ago this week, has announced that they have acquired the Freehold of The White Hart, Ampthill from Punch Taverns for £2.6m.

The 1.2 acres site lies in the heart of the vibrant Bedfordshire market town, and as well as the very successful public house, it has eight hotel rooms and a function suite. It has been run by Oakman Inns since 2015 under a 25-year Free-of-Tie lease after it had been closed for some years and burdened by a troubled history.

However, after a £1.2m investment by Oakman, together with a contribution of £450k by the landlords, the White Hart quickly returned to profit, and the successful partnership has shown an excellent ROI to date. Therefore, when the opportunity to acquire the Freehold arose, it was a very easy decision, giving Punch a considerable premium to book value and allowing Oakman Inns to add the valuable freehold to their portfolio.

Oakman CEO, Peter Borg-Neal, said: “We are delighted to add the White Hart to our growing collection of quality Freeholds. We have enjoyed a positive and enjoyable business relationship with Punch over the last few years, and it has reached a happy conclusion with this ‘win-win’ deal.”

New Openings for 2018

Across the rest of the group, building work is now underway at all three previously announced developments:

  • The Beech House, Amersham – opening Feb 2018. The site, which is Oakman’s first new build, will be the fourth Beech House. Oakman is slowly evolving a more relaxed and casual dining style for the brand, which they believe will appeal to the maturing millennials. With a large bar and restaurant capacity of 140, this will be the largest Beech House in the group.
  • The Cherry Tree, Olney – opening March 2018. The site is being converted from a former Residential Care Home in the centre of Olney, and will be one of the largest pub and dining operations in the area.
  • The Royal Foresters, Ascot – opening June 2018. With 22 letting rooms and a large restaurant and bar operation, this former Greene King site has already formed strong contacts with the local business and residential communities.

Awards Update:

Oakman Inns has also been informed that for the third year running they have achieved a maximum three-star accreditation in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies To Work For 2018 which reflects extraordinary levels of workplace engagement.

Simultaneously, Oakman has been shortlisted for three categories at next year’s Publican Awards, for which judging starts this month. These are Best Pub Employer (501+ employees), Best Food Offer, and Best Managed Pub Company (2 to 50 sites).

Hannah Milton