£300,000 upgrade of The Woodlands in Harrogate to begin next week
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Last updated Jan 2, 2024
New managers Paul Caunt(left) and Matthew Carr

Building work on a £300,000 upgrade of The Woodlands pub in Harrogate is due to begin next week.

Work will start on Monday (January 8) and the pub on Wetherby Road is due to re-open at the end of February with a new food and drinks offer.

Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars said in a statement today it planned to “transform it into the best family-friendly community and sports pub in the area”.

It added:

“Funds are being spent on a top-to-toe redecoration of the interior of The Woodlands to include new hard flooring, carpets and furniture to give the pub a brighter, smarter more contemporary look and feel.

“A new sports area will be created with a pool table, traditional darts board and TV showing Sky Sports and TNT Sports.  A kitchen upgrade is also taking place to enable the pub to extend its traditional pub favourites and cater for the increased numbers the operators expect to attract.

“The pub’s exterior is to be given a complete makeover, repainted in a smart grey-blue and white with new signage, lighting and in warmer months, hanging baskets. To the front there will be a beer garden with new tables and chairs and behind a sheltered beer garden, that’s a real sun trap.”

The Woodlands on Wetherby Road

An artist’s impression of how it will look.

Star Pubs and Bars first unveiled plans to give the pub a facelift in December 2020. At the time it also announced plans to give the pub a controversial new name, West Riding Harrogate, but this was dropped when it didn’t go down well with some local residents.

The company today said the refurbishment has taken time to begin because it initially planned to recruit a licensee who would have also invested in the pub, but it had now decided to run The Woodlands as one of its managed operator pubs and is doing the whole investment itself.

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It announced Paul Caunt and Matthew Carr would take on the management of the venue. Both previously worked for Mr Carr’s father who had the lease of the pub for many years.

Mr Caunt said:

“Matthew’s father decided to retire last year when his lease came to an end.  We had thought we would have to leave the pub but were delighted when we found out that it was going to benefit from a major investment and that there was an opportunity to manage it.  We were both ready to run our own pub so it’s a dream come true.  We make a great team as Matthew is responsible for the kitchen, and I’m front of house.

“We were both brought up in Harrogate and both live nearby so know what locals want and the area needs.  We get on well with the regulars and there’s a fantastic community spirit.”

The partners plans for The Woodland include continuing to host twice weekly pub quizzes and show live sports on TV and if there’s interest they will look to host live music. They are also looking for pool and darts teams.

Paul Caunt(left) and Matthew Carr toast the pub’s success.

The drinks will include a selection of wines, spirits, and beers as well as cocktails, cask and craft ales and Heineken 0.0.  Beers will include Birra Moretti and Beavertown as well as Theakstons and Timothy Taylor’s.

Andy Moore, Star Pubs & Bars investment manager, said:

“The Woodlands is in a prominent position on a busy crossroads near to the Yorkshire show showground and near the newly promoted Harrogate Town Football Club.  It’s tired looking at the moment, a bit of an eyesore, but with this major investment it will be somewhere that locals can be proud of.

“The immediate area has plenty of top-quality food pubs, but no real top quality community local offering sport.  With Matthew and Paul at the helm, a new look and feel and new food and drinks menus, I’m confident it will deliver what is needed locally.  People will have the type of pub on their doorstep that previously they had to travel to enjoy.”

The vast majority of Star Pubs & Bars’ 2,400 pubs are leased to small businesses and entrepreneurs.