Ashley and his partner Sandra Berry took over the pub in January and decided to rename it The Royal Wootton Bassett.
He said: “We’ve done the refurbishment on the inside and we had planned to open up on the Easter weekend. But with everything going on and the world going to a stop, we weren’t exempt from that, so we had to put that on hold.
“We feel we can really offer something positive to this town. We changed the name because it’s at the entrance to the town so it will be a nice feature going in and out.”
Ashley and Sandra had planned welcome locals to an Open Day, something Ashley says will happen when possible. He said: “We’re looking to open as soon as we can, but that won’t be until things go back to normal.”
This isn’t the first time the couple have worked together running a pub. The well-regarded Three Crowns in Brinkworth has been run by his family for the last 25 years.
He ran The Weighbridge Brewhouse at Penzance Drive in Swindon until selling it in 2016.
“I just love working in pubs because I love the interaction with people from all walks of life. People love to go to the pub to relax and wind down and we’re lucky enough to have made it our career.”
Although The Royal Wootton Bassett may have kept its traditional exterior, inside the menu will have tastes from countries from all over the world.
Ashley said: “It’s going to be a steak and tapas style restaurant. We’re going to have elements from all over the world and some of my favourite dishes I’ve had from places I’ve been.
That means there will be Asian, Eastern European, Indian and American dishes on the menu. The couple will be sourcing the food and products locally to put investment back into the local economy.
But with the current situation there’s no official opening day.
Ashley said: “It’s a case of how long is a piece of string. Now that lockdown has been extended for another three weeks we will have to wait and see what happens and we won’t announce an opening date yet.”
Good luck Ash, from all of your friends at Minety RFC. We can’t wait for the lockdown to end and your new pub to open!
(most of this was shamelessly lifted from The Gazette and Herald of April 23rd 2020).