Black Boy under new management

The Black Boy, Milton

The Black Boy, Milton

Rumour has it that the Black Boy Inn, Milton will soon be under new management.  Contracts are expected to be exchanged on Monday 16 February 2015 with completion scheduled for later in the month.

Marco Pierre-White’s regime will come to an end and locals are looking forward to getting their village pub back.  Marco tried to turn it into a celebrity restaurant and he failed.  He scrapped most of the bar and bar area and reduced the choice of drinks, clearly expecting punters to come for the name of Marco Pierre-White and/or Wheelers and the eating experience those names envisaged.  Well it failed and it is sad that this lovely old pub has had to pay the price.

I understand the new owners will live on the premises and that is really good news.  They will need to take stock of the building and what needs to be done to return it to profitability.  I hope that means a combination of local watering hole and restaurant.  There is enough space for the Black Boy to be a local pub and a restaurant and there could well be space for bed and breakfast trade if the local planners allow and, surely, they must be  helpful to this pub that has survived such a long list of different landlords?

I have three thoughts in conclusion:

  • Very grateful thanks to Hannah and her team who have worked so hard to meet customers’ needs while seeing the business wind down as Marco clearly decided he was exiting but never seems to have taken the local staff into his confidence.  If his staff management style is based on silence and secrecy, I do wonder how he keeps his businesses going?
  • A very warm welcome to the new landlord and landlady.  They are taking on a pub with a chequered history and a huge list of past landlords but it has great potential and, in the right hands, I am sure it can come back to viability with full bars and full tables.
  • Marco changed this lovely old pub and not for the better.  He seems to have thought he could impose urban styles and tastes into this very rural location.  I hope he has learned a lesson and may take a pause to reflect on the advice he has been given and the style in which he seems to manage his businesses.

About Keith R Mitchell CBE

Qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1967. Pursued a successful career in financial training and publishing until selling his interests in 1990. Elected a County Councillor for the Bloxham Division in 1989. Leader of Oxfordshire County Council 5 November 2001 to 15 May 2012. Chairman of the South East England Regional Planning Committee July 2002 to July 2005. Chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly July 2005 to July 2008. In HM the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours, appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of services to local government.
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