Informing Business (Jan9): Popular pub closes for £550,000 spruce up

David Lee

Informing Business (Jan9): Popular pub closes for £550,000 spruce up

A village pub in Dorney will be given a ‘new lease of life’ by undergoing a £550,000 refurbishment.

The Pineapple, owned by Heineken’s Star Pubs & Bars, closed on January 2 to allow for the revamp to start.

The Lake End Road venue’s inside seating capacity is set to almost double to 73 with money being spent on a garden room extension featuring bi-fold doors and limestone flooring.

Outside, the decking is being replaced with a mixture of cushioned seats and wooden tables on offer on the terrace.

Picnic benches will also be available on the grassed areas, bringing the outside seating capacity to 166.

New signs, lighting and plants will form part of the refurbishment, with the toilets also receiving an upgrade.

Chrys and Hanna Fisher, who run the pub, which is well known for its doorstep sandwiches, said the redevelopment was needed to make the venue financially viable in the long-term.

Chrys said: “The Pineapple has a really nice energy to it which we were keen to retain, but it has a tiny kitchen, not much trading space and the décor is in a poor state of repair.

“Unfortunately, in its current state it isn’t viable in the long term so we’re thrilled it’s to be given a new lease of life as it is a lovely village pub.”

The extended and upgraded kitchen will feature a new stone bake pizza oven.

Heineken’s Smart Dispense system is also being installed with a new gin menu also set to be on offer when the pub reopens in early spring.

Matt Dyson, regional operations director at Star Pubs and Bars, said: “Heineken is a firm believer in the future of the Great British local and invested £50million in 2019 in pubs like The Pineapple to help them keep pace with peoples’ changing needs and expectations so they can thrive for the long term.”

New SWR boss promises to deliver more reliable service

South Western Railway’s new managing director has pledged to increase the number trains running on time.

Mark Hopwood joins the company having spent 12 years in charge at Great Western Railway.

He has outlined five key commitments to passengers which include more reliable services, introducing new and refurbished trains and making the company approachable and accountable.

Mark said: “We can’t achieve all this alone.

“Many of the problems we face are caused by the infrastructure, so I have agreed with Network Rail at the very highest levels that we will work hard together to address these issues.

“My previous experience tells me that a strong, collaborative relationship is key.

“I know that passengers don’t want to hear parts of the industry blaming each other for issues they just want to see fixed.

“So my approach is that it might not be our fault, but it is still our problem.”

Mike Houghton will oversee the company’s performance, operations and customer experience functions under the role of chief operating officer.

He formerly helped turn around performance at Melbourne Trains in Australia.

Independent traders set up in Queensmere

The Queensmere Observatory Shopping Centre in Slough has welcomed two new independent shops.

Clothing retailer Sapphire opened its doors in December, taking over the former Trespass unit.

The Tasty Touch café has also opened opposite Superdrug with shoppers able to choose from freshly baked cakes, sandwiches, hot food and a selection of drinks.

Chris Shaw, centre manager, said: “Queensmere Observatory is excited to welcome both Sapphire and Tasty Touch to their new home within the centre and wish them every success for 2020.

“These two stores are the latest to join the growing number of independent retailers here at Queensmere and will certainly add to the vibrant, community experience you can expect with a visit to our centre.”

Craft Coop, a joint venture between the shopping centre, Slough Borough Council and the community interest company, also opened a pop-up shop last month.

New chief executive takes the helm at Thames Valley Berkshire LEP

A new chief executive has been appointed by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Alison Webster will be tasked with helping the private sector-led partnership promote economic growth in Berkshire.

She joins from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) where she was responsible for strategy and policy development and corporate governance.

Alison said: “The LEP is driven with real purpose in its work to help achieve the goals set out in its Strategic Economic Plan and Local Industrial Strategy.

“It will be my priority to make sure we are ready to meet these challenges.

“I look forward to joining the LEP Board and working with new colleagues promoting this message of excellence through diversity.”

Charity scheme helping youngsters boost job prospects

A charity is calling on young people who are unemployed or out of education to sign up to a free 12-week course to help boost their job prospects.

Adviza’s 12-week ‘Team’ programme, which runs from Monday, January 20 to Friday April 10, aims to give 16 to 25-year-olds the opportunity to learn new skills and improve their confidence.

The scheme, which is supported by The Prince’s Trust, helps participants to undertake their own community project, as well as offering them an ‘action-packed residential trip’ and developing their interview techniques and CV writing skills.

Lee Teideman, of Adviza, said: “We are really pleased to be offering The Prince’s Trust Team programme in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire and would like to reach out to any young person who finds themselves out of work and education to come along and see what Team is all about. This really could be a life-changing opportunity.”

Email stephenwhelan@ to sign up.

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