The landlords of a community pub have announced that they will not be renewing their lease, citing the 'devastating effect of the pandemic and the hefty increases in the costs of utilities and supplies'.

Ian and Lisa Neale have run the 17th century Red Lion at Northmoor for 10 successful years.

The award-winning pub was bought from Greene King by the local community in 2014 after villagers raised tens of thousands of pounds to secure its future.

Witney Gazette: Ian and Lisa Neale.jpg

First-time tenants Mr and Mrs Neale, who had 30 years' experience in hospitality, have run it ever since.

But they will be leaving when their tenancy is due to end in April 2024.

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Writing on Facebook, they said: "We are sorry to announce that we have made the very difficult decision not to renew it.

"It is very unusual for pub tenants to stay for ten years, and we have had an amazing time at The Red Lion, a beautiful pub in a truly special community.

"It hasn’t been easy for anyone in the hospitality business, with the devastating effect of the pandemic and the hefty increases in the costs of utilities and supplies in recent months. So for us it’s time to move on."

The Red Lion has beamed ceilings and log fires, a beer garden set among the trees and a vegetable patch which provides fresh fruit and vegetables for the menus.

Three en-suite shepherd's huts were installed in 2019 to offer bed and breakfast at the site close to the Thames Pathway.

The pub has won numerous awards for its food and drinks, the most recent being 'Best Destination Pub' in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire at the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2022.

The couple, who said they would be taking a break before looking for new opportunities, thanked their 'super, amazing team, past and present who have and continue to work really hard'.

Witney Gazette: The Red Lion at Northmoor

They also thanked 'The Northmoor Lion Board, who are a tremendous support to us, the people of Northmoor and all our loyal customers, friends and family and suppliers who have been on this journey with us from the start.'

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The future of the pub will be discussed at a Northmoor Lion shareholders’ meeting in November.

Mr and Mrs Neale added: "We still have five months left and we don’t want to get all gloomy about it.

"We want the pub to continue for our duration with positivity and good times and really hope that you will all still come out and continue to support us.

"We are looking forward to the festive season, our Christmas menus are out, we have some exciting events to announce, and we look forward to seeing all of you very soon."