The King’s Head and Bell on East Saint Helen’s Street in Abingdon has been closed since Autumn 2007. It is a historical coaching inn in one of the oldest streets in Abingdon. I believe the reason for its closure was structural damage making it too dangerous to continue using.
Last year it was purchased by Foundation Inns, who applied for planning permission to renovate it. The plans can be seen by visiting the Vale of White Horse District Council’s Planning permission web site and entering reference number as 08/00939/FUL
Work has been proceeding over the last few months, including demolition company, electricians and plasterers, and skip loads of junk were appearing outside. A week or so ago, work stopped.
Following various rumours going around town ranging from ‘its going to be demolished’ to ‘its turning into a wine bar’ and speculation of it getting mixed up with the Old Gaol development, none of which matched up with what Foundation Inns is all about, or what the planning permission application stated. So I wrote an email to the directors of Foundation Inns to try to get more information.
I received two replies, one from Gavin Drew the Commercial & Finance Director, and another from Ian Grundy the managing director. These replies say that work is now complete on making the building structurally safe, but due to the current market situation the plans need to be scaled down a bit, so requires re-applying for planning permission. It should open this summer or autumn and will be a traditional pub with real ales and reasonably priced food. The full replies are at the end of this article.