Funding has seen pub increase its dining area with a new extension

A traditional pub in the heart of Lee-on-the-Solent has undergone a refurbishment and reopened with a new look and a bigger dining area.

Thursday, 16th March 2017, 5:55 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:57 am
The Bun Penny Picture: Frantzesco Kangaris

Heartstone Inns, the owner of The Bun Penny in Lee-on-Solent, used finance from HSBC to build a new function room and restaurant, creating space for an additional 50 covers.

The extension takes the pub’s capacity to 165 covers and has created at least two new full-time jobs.

Helen Evans, licensee, said: ‘We are delighted with the extension of this charming old building.

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‘We look forward to welcoming customers into this wonderful new space, which will be used as a restaurant and for private events of up to 55 people.

‘The new space offers so much flexibility and really does cater for everyone.’

The pub, in Manor Way, will hold an event tonight from 7pm to mark the room’s official opening.

The deal was part of an £8m funding package put in place by HSBC to support Heartstone Inns’ acquisition plans and to upgrade its existing portfolio of pubs.

The business, which has banked with HSBC for the past 10 years, has drawn down £5.3m of the five-year term loan and will use the remaining £2.7m to support a number of acquisitions and development projects in 2017 and beyond.

James Birch, managing director of Heartstone Inns, said: ‘We have just celebrated 10 years since the opening of our first pub, which is also when we started working with HSBC.

‘Over that period, the bank has helped us build our portfolio and modernise our estate. The support HSBC continues to offer today is no exception and we look forward to adding new pubs and completing further developments over the coming years.’

Anthony Reed, HSBC’s head of corporate banking in Hampshire & Dorset, said: ‘Heartstone Inns is a long-standing customer of HSBC so we understand its business model and its plans for the future, making it easier to put the right finance package in place each time.

‘Its ambitious expansion plans are testament to the success the business has enjoyed. It’s a great example of a premium pub operator that is outperforming some of the bigger companies in the wider food and drink sector.’

Heartstone Inns owns 14 free houses across southern England and Wales and was included in the London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report, which identifies the fastest-growing and most dynamic SMEs in the UK.