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28 February 2020

Work is set to start on a £250,000 revamp of a North Lincolnshire village’s only pub, bringing to an end local residents’ concerns for its future and creating up to ten new jobs.

The refurbishment of The Wheatsheaf at Hibaldstow is being undertaken by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars and new licensees David and Maggie Gibson, who ran the pub back in 2015 and returned at the request of villagers to help restore it as a hub of community life.

The investment will transform the tired local into a great quality village pub. The Wheatsheaf will close from 2nd March and reopen in late March.

The Wheatsheaf is believed to date back to 1803, and the project will carefully restore the outside, repainting the building and adding new signage and lighting. The little used outside area will receive investment too and have two new patio areas laid, complete with seating for up to 30, and festoon lighting.

The Wheatsheaf’s dated interior will be refurbished throughout in a rustic style in keeping with the pub’s architecture and character. To cater for the whole community, it will have a bar for those wanting to drink and socialise, a new pool table and darts board, a comfortable lounge with a log burner and a dining area. As well as upgrading the toilets and the kitchen, the work will overhaul the cellar with a state-of-the-art dispense equipment to ensure consistently excellent draught beer and cider.

More than 300 people turned out to welcome the Gibsons back to the Wheatsheaf when they returned in July to start planning the refurbishment. Since then, the couple have introduced freshly prepared home-cooked food, built up the quiz night into a busy weekly fixture, started up pool teams and made the pub available as a meeting space for local groups and good causes. Villagers have flocked back, including many who had not visited the pub since the Gibsons’ departure.

The duo plan further changes when the pub reopens, including an upgraded menu featuring specials as well as pub favourites, good quality coffee and a wider choice of premium wines, spirits and no- and low-alcohol drinks. Bingo for senior citizens and fundraisers in aid of charities selected by villagers are also on the cards. Plus the pub’s four letting rooms will be redecorated later in the year.

Says David: “We left because we couldn’t agree a lease with the previous landlords. The pub was then run by a succession of temporary operators and lost its way and its following. We looked at other pubs but nothing matched up to The Wheatsheaf. When we heard Star Pubs & Bars had taken it over and was planning to invest, we jumped at the chance to take it on again. It’s fantastic to be back – it’s like coming home. The Wheatsheaf really matters to the village, as it’s the one place everyone gathers. They’d missed it terribly, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the support and thanks we’ve had. The refurbishment is just what The Wheatsheaf needs to thrive for the long term and properly serve the local community as well as draw people from further afield.”

Comments Grant Morgan-Tolworthy, Star Pubs & Bars operations director for Lincolnshire: “We’re passionate believers in the great British pub. We acquired The Wheatsheaf in 2018 and have been keen to invest in it ever since. It’s fantastic to have David and Maggie on board. They’re very popular in the village and have a real affinity and love for The Wheatsheaf. It’s already attracting people from neighbouring villages, and the new focus on food will make it a destination with pub-goers from the wider area. We’ll be working flat out to reopen the pub in time for Easter.”