THE family in charge of a long-running Swindon brewery celebrated the success of their new pub.

The Strawberry Thief on Mackay Crescent can seat more than 400 people inside its barn-style interior or on the large back patio. 

It represents a £5m investment from Arkell's and created more than 40 jobs.

Swindon Advertiser:

George Arkell told the Adver: "It's been a real labour of love, it's wonderful. Tadpole Garden Village has been waiting five years for this pub, we've had some great feedback from the community.

"Our intention was to make it feel like an old barn that had been converted into something contemporary that everyone could use."

The pub opened early with a limited menu so its first customers could enjoy the jubilee weekend there - and now it's fully ready for business.

Swindon Advertiser:

Tom and Mairead Titcombe are the licensees. Tom said: "We both started our careers in Arkell’s pubs and have been with the brewery at various venues since.  We met in The Kingsdown Inn and never looked back. 

"The pub looks absolutely stunning, and we feel so proud to be at the helm of Arkell’s fantastic new establishment.” 

This is the first Arkell's pub to be built since The Tawny Owl 20 years ago. It's called The Strawberry Thief as a nod to a William Morris textile design from 1883 - the streets and school in Tadpole Garden Village are similarly named after the famous British designer.

Swindon Advertiser:

John Stooke of the Campaign For Real Ale added: "It's very impressive, they have really pushed the boat out, it's lovely. It's brilliant to see a new pub opening, Arkell's have done a great job.

"I hope they promote their beers and real ales more."

Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire Sarah Troughton officially opened the pub by unveiling a plaque after Reverend X blessed the building and said a prayer

Mrs Troughton said: "It's the most stylish building, with a great atmosphere, and it's going to be a beacon for wining and dining, and the envy of Wiltshire."

Chairman James Arkell thanked Julie Moss,  Tom and Mairead, - and he was proud of son George for being so involved in the minutiae of the project.

Swindon Advertiser:

The pub has been designed by Clark & Maslin - an architectural practice based in Malmesbury - and Concorde BGW Group. The main contractor was local firm Edmont Ltd.

Edmont managing director Craig Morton said: “On behalf of the directors, we would like to thank Arkell’s for appointing us as main contractor on this fantastic project. 

"As a greenfield site, the project has been a great success, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Arkell’s team led by George Arkell, Clark and Maslin, Concorde and the Edmont team.”

Swindon Advertiser:

George Arkell added: "We are delighted to have opened a new pub in these challenging times and are extremely proud to be able to offer employment to support Swindon as well as a fantastic venue for the community.

"We have done our best to use local specialists wherever possible. Everyone has done a fantastic job to bring this project to a reality since the turning of the sod, one year ago. Thank you to them all and the community.”

Swindon Advertiser:

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said: "I'm absolutely thrilled to get this over the line because there has been so much excitement from people in the area as they watch this building rise from the ground up.

"It's a bespoke and fantastic new offering from the Arkell's family, it and I'm sure it will be a big success."