Plans to upgrade the offering of a pub purchased by the community have been approved as it seeks to become ‘a destination venue’.

The Plough Inn, based in Longparish, has been given the go-ahead to expand its car park and relocate an LPG tank to “enhance” its pub garden, opening it up to the wider community. This is subject to certain conditions, including resolving the route of a public footpath through the car park.

Discussing the application, Andy Joliffe, the chair of the Plough Committee, previously told the Advertiser: “When it opens, we expect The Plough to be a destination pub, with customers coming from several miles to visit us. Not only do we need enough spaces, we also want to make sure those spaces are in the right place: the existing car park currently encroaches on outside areas that could be better used for serving customers outside.

“By moving the car park further back and away from the pub building and garden, we can provide plenty of parking space, improve the atmosphere and enhance the customer experience.”

The Plough Inn opened in 1721, and was one of the village’s most popular drinking establishments for much of that time, and was recognised with awards such as Good Food Guide’s Pub of the Year.

It closed in 2015, and survived two attempts to convert it into a house. Plough Ahead, a group of residents looking to turn it back into a pub, subsequently formed in 2018.

They launched a fundraising campaign to raise part of the purchase price of the pub, which was listed for £550,000 on Rightmove. They managed to raise over £300,000 by selling shares to members of the public, with 240 members of the public chipping in various amounts to see the pub resurrected.

Another £300,000 was borrowed by Longparish Parish Council to cover further costs, and they will take on legal ownership of the pub, with the building leased back to Plough Ahead on a long term lease. £100,000 was also provided in a grant and loan package from the Plunkett Foundation’s ‘More than A Pub’ programme.

Since the keys were handed over, work has been underway to bring the pub back to its former glory, with work to repair and upgrade the plumbing, the electrics and heating. A new bar has been installed, while refurbishment works are taking place inside and out.

The pub is also looking for new staff ahead of a planned opening in the first week of September.