Work starts on new Swindon neighbourhood pub

By Barrie Hudson - 7 June 2021


Arkell’s Brewery celebrated breaking ground at the site of its new pub in Tadpole Garden Village.

  • From left: Arkell's Managing Director George Arkell, North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson and Edmont Ltd Managing Director Craig Morton

    From left: Arkell's Managing Director George Arkell, North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson and Edmont Ltd Managing Director Craig Morton

The historic Swindon company also announced that the new pub is to be called The Strawberry Thief.

Managing Director George Arkell was joined by Craig Morton of builders Edmont and North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson to mark the occasion.

Mr Tomlinson turned the first sod to officially start the work for Arkell’s new £4m pub, which is due to open in 2022.

The MP said: “Having represented this field for 21 years as both councillor and MP, I’m absolutely thrilled that I was able to put the spade in the ground to start the build of this fantastic new community facility.  

"The growing Tadpole Farm and neighbouring communities are very excited to see these works begin, so it is with huge thanks, yet again, to the Arkell’s family for backing and investing in Swindon.  I have no doubt this new pub will be a huge success.” 

Mr Arkell said: “We’re really excited to finally be starting this project and it’s wonderful to have our MP along to formally commence the work.  

"It has been a long and very challenging year for us all and it is fabulous for us to be able to look forwards not backwards.  The Strawberry Thief is the biggest project we have undertaken in years. 

"The Tadpole community have been really supportive and encouraging as it has taken a long time to actually start construction on site.  We are immensely proud to be investing in Swindon; it’s our home town and we can’t wait to see the build take shape and evolve into a fantastic neighbourhood pub.”

Unveiling the name ‘The Strawberry Thief’, Mr Arkell explained that it was a nod to a William Morris textile design from 1883, which features the thrushes Morris found stealing fruit in his kitchen garden of his countryside home, Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire.  

The William Morris theme runs through Tadpole Garden Village, with street names and the school named after the famous British textile designer.

The pub has been designed by Clark & Maslin an Architectural Practice, based in Malmesbury, and Concorde BGW Group.  

Ian Maslin from Clark and Maslin said: “Enormous thought and effort has gone into the design, layout and fenestration so the building compliments the existing setting of the Tadpole village. 

"Natural materials have been used throughout to provide a sustainable building that will stand the testament of time. We hope the pub will achieve a balance between being a destination pub and neighbourhood pub; it will feature open fires, a welcoming bar and a fantastic garden overlooking the village green and cricket pitch. 

"The project has been a long time coming with the interruption of the pandemic but it’s great news that work has finally commenced on this very exciting project.”

Edmont Ltd, another Swindon firm, will be responsible for the construction. 

The firm has over 50 years’ experience in construction, fit-out, joinery and mechanical and electrical work, and is a longstanding partner of Arkell’s, having worked with the brewery on a number of projects throughout the years.

Craig Morton, Managing Director at Edmont Ltd, said of the project: “On behalf of myself and the Board at Edmont, we are delighted to continue our longstanding working relationship with Arkell’s following our appointment as main contractor on this project. 

"This will be the fourth new build public house Edmont have undertaken for Arkell’s and we are proud to be involved in creating exciting new spaces for the local community. 

"We look forward to working with Arkell’s to make this project a success.”

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