A POPULAR Andover pub has reopened after it is taken over by a new landlord.

The Queen Charlotte Inn on London Road has officially reopened on Wednesday, January 12, after Sussex Inn took the building on lease from Stonegate Group.

The new manager Joshua Druce said the pub is now half-opened, while the kitchen and half of bar are undergoing refurbishments. The pub will open fully in February before the start of Six Nations Championship on February 5.

“We are so excited,” said Josh, who has moved into the pub building.

“We can’t wait to serve the community. That’s our biggest goal. After what has been happening with Covid, it is a good opportunity for people to interact with others, get some sort of social aspects back in their life. I think we owe it to the community.”

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Josh, who has experience in managing pubs in Portsmouth, Southampton, Chichester and Winchester, added that the menu for the Queen Charlotte is going to be completely new with fresh foods and pub classics.

The pub is also refurbishing its sports arena. Josh said it will have pool tables and new televisions with Sky Sports and BT Sports.

It is expected to have around 10 staff when the kitchen opens.

The Queen Charlotte was closed in November last year after its previous landlord was forced to leave her beloved pub after five years in charge.

Vicki Harber, who is also a Test Valley councillor for the area, had no choice but to leave the pub after the Stonegate Group made a drastic increase in its rent.

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Having originally been told that her tenancy would be renewed when it expires in November, Vicki was informed in July of the planned price hike, after she had already invested significantly in her business, including buying new decking.

Vicki had said then that the annual rent was hiked by around 70 per cent from £34,000 to £59,000 per year, which the company claimed was to cover necessary refurbishments.

Stonegate has been contacted by the Advertiser for comment.

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Kimberley Barber