A cluster of popular rural pubs in the northwest have been rescued from permanent closure.
Six former Seafood Pub Company sites, which crashed in administration last summer, were bought by Oakman Group, saving about 150 jobs.
The Seafood Pub Company was behind some of the country’s most popular gourmet pubs, but went out of business in June after missing a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL).
Founder Joycelyn Neve, who started the business in 2010 and was “really heartbroken” by the pub closures, will join Oakman as Managing Director of a new Seafood Pub division.
The majority of sites are within an hour of Greater Manchester and can be found in some of the region’s most beautiful rural locations.
The Oakman Group bought four pubs in Lancashire as well as one in Merseyside and another in West Yorkshire as part of the deal.
The Alma Inn in Colne, the Derby Arms in Longridge, the Farmers Arms in Great Eccleston, the Forest Inn in Fence, the Fleece Inn in Addingham and the Fenwick Arms in Claughton have all been rescued and are slated to reopen on May 17, or the step three of the roadmap.
He leaves four of the sites still unsold – the Assheton Arms in Clitheroe, The Oyster and Otter in Blackburn, Barley Mow in Barley Village and The Inn in Harrogate.
Neve said: “I have been a great admirer of the Oakman Group, its philosophy and its ambition.
“They have acquired the cream of the Seafood Pub Company sites and I have no doubts that with the support of the Oakman team, we will be extremely successful.
“My expectation at this point is that all six pubs will reopen on May 17th and we will immediately start working on building our new teams. “
Dermot King, CEO of The Oakman Group, said: “I am delighted that we have agreed to the terms of the acquisition of these sites, which represent the next step in our strategic development as we seek to expand our borders beyond our heart of Home Counties.
“We believe there is significant untapped potential in the premium advertising industry, and I am not placing any upper limits on our ambition.”
Oakman Inns plans to open 40 pubs by the end of 2021.