134-year-old village pub to be saved and re-opened with new designs

A 134-year-old village pub in north Powys is being saved and set to re-open thanks to the efforts of a local couple and building design work by Hughes Architects.

The Sarn Inn at Sarn, near Newtown, has been at the heart of the rural community since 1884, serving pints and food to generations of locals and visitors alike during that time.

Situated along the main A487 trunk road, the pub closed last year and was starting to deteriorate. It was a business idea of husband and wife team Claire Austin and Ric Kenwood that inspired them to acquire and invest in it as part of a major renovation scheme.

Working with Mid Wales-based building designers and planning consultants, Hughes Architects, the couple who own and run Claire Austin Hardy Plants, a horticultural nursery specializing in perennials, irises and peonies near the village, have begun renovation work that will save the building and bring it back into use as a public house.

In addition, the couple are incorporating their nursery business into it, with a gift shop and a display area at the rear.

“Claire and Ric came to us with an idea that would help sustain the pub by bringing a new retail element to it with their nursery business. We came up with designs and plans incorporating a shop along with a complete renovation of the pub, including an extension and modernisation,” said Adam Watkins of Hughes Architects.

“With permission secured, work has already started on the building. It’s good to see such an important part of a village community being brought back into use through a bit of imagination and enterprise.”

The building is being gutted as part of the work, with a new bar and cafe area and a shop that will display a range of products from the Claire Austin nursery.

Externally, the beer garden will be planted up with perennials plants from the nursery to inspire visitors to the pub and nursery area.

“We’d seen the pub falling into a bit of a state of disrepair since it had closed. We had an idea about opening a new retail element of the nursery and we could see how The Sarn Inn was a perfect location, set alongside the main A489 road between Wales and neighboring Shropshire,” said Claire.

“We’re planning to host talks and other events at the pub in tandem with the nursery, as well as community events and serving some great local ales. We’ll also be serving food that is locally sourced and produced.”

The couple will be taking on a manager and other staff to work at the pub and shop as part of the venture.