Plans approved for revamp of The Plough Inn at Powburn and new Running Fox cafe

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Refurbishment works that will pave the way for the reopening of a village pub after a nine year absence have been approved.

Publicans Paul and Sarah Johnson are hoping to press on with work over the next few weeks so The Plough Inn at Powburn can reopen by late summer.

"It’s been a frustrating wait for planning permission,” admitted Paul. “I know a lot of local residents are as frustrated as we’ve been too!”

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They announced a 50/50 collaboration with Kris Blackburn, who owns the Running Fox cafe chain, back in January.

The Plough Inn, Powburn.The Plough Inn, Powburn.
The Plough Inn, Powburn.

At the time it was hoped the Grade II listed property would reopen by Easter but repair works requiring planning permission put the scheme behind schedule.

"We’re aiming to get the bar open by July or August so we can benefit from the summer trade,” said Paul. “There’s a fair bit to do but we think it’s achievable.

"There’s the bar to build, flooring to go down and a bit of plastering and electrical work to get done.

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“Some of the lads who we had lined up for the work have picked up other jobs but we hope the work will start up again very soon.”

The pub has been closed since 2015.

By day it will operate in the same way as the other five Running Fox outlets in Felton, Shilbottle, Longframlington, Longhoughton and recently-opened Kirkharle which Kris says has been ‘really busy’.

This element of the plan is expected to be up and running in the autumn.

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The Running Fox opens its fifth cafe at Kirkharle Courtyard

By night it will revert to its traditional pub role under Paul and Sarah, who also operate The Ale Gate in Alnwick and help Kris with the Farriers Arms in Shilbottle.

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"We’ve just sold The Narrow Nick in Rothbury so we can concentrate on The Plough,” added Paul, who admitted he is channelling the ‘Challenge Anneka’ spirit for the task ahead.

The scheme which now has planning approval involves internal alterations and repairs, the replacement of a porch and a pitched roof to replace a flat roof above a toilet extension.

There were eight letters of support from local residents and backing from Hedgeley Parish Council which said its reopening would be a valuable addition to the village and wider community.

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