Cross Keys at risk

A planning application to partly demolish and convert The Cross Keys on Ock Street into housing has been submitted. You can see the details on the Vale of White Horse District Council Web Site, Reference: P14/V1476/FUL

New pub company Hawthorn Leisure, purchased the pub from Greene King in May, as part of a deal involving 275 Greene King Pubs, also including the Saxton Arms in Abingdon.

At the time of the acquisition, Gerry Carroll, Chief Executive of Hawthorn Leisure, commented:

“There is a fantastic opportunity to work hand in hand with tenants, who we see as our genuine partners, backing them with management support, advice and investment. With strong financial backing, an efficient business model and a high calibre team dedicated to helping our partners to maximise the success of their pubs, Hawthorn Leisure is in a unique position to support and invest in these pubs and to help them fulfill their potential.“

Greene King had previously submitted a similar planning application before the sale to Hawthorn Leisure, which was withdrawn, and it was hoped that the positive comments from Hawthorn Leisure and freedom from the Greene King tie had saved the Cross Keys from closure at least for a few more years.

Abingdon has already lost too many pubs in recent years, including the Harp/Plough on Stert Street which has been closed since the start of this year. The Ox on Oxford Road and Fitzharris Arms off Wootton Road became Tesco Express stores a couple of years ago. There is some concern that the same fate may now be in store for the Saxton Arms.

If this planning application is approved, Ock Street which once had dozens of pubs will only have two… The Brewery Tap and White Horse. Other pubs that were on Ock Street not so long ago were… The Air Balloon, Happy Dick, Crown, Warwick Arms, Ock Street Horns.

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