Lancashire's Seafood Pub Company back in business after deal and set to reopen six gastro-pubs

Pubs owned by a Lancashire pubs company that collapsed last summer are set to reopen this year after a deal has been completed.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 9:14 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 2:28 pm

Six pubs previously operated by the award-winning Seafood Pub Company have been taken over by Home Counties-based operator, The Oakman Group, in a move that will save around 150 jobs.

Oakman has acquired six venues, each noted for its meals offerings, from the administrators and Seafood Pub will now become its third brand.

And Joycelyn Neve, the founder and former managing director of Seafood Pub Company, will join The Oakman Group as the MD of this new division.

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Joycelyn Neve of the Seafood Pub Company

The six are the Alma Inn, Laneshawbridge, the Derby Arms, Longridge, the Farmers Arms, Great Eccleston, the Fenwick Arms, Claughton, the Fleece Inn, Addingham, West Yorks and the Forest Inn, at Fence.

Joycelyn Neve, who took inspiration for her pub group from her father Chris who had years of experience in the fishing sector in Fleewood, said: “I have been a huge admirer of The Oakman Group, its ethos and its ambition.

"They have acquired the cream of the Seafood Pub Company sites and I’m confident that, with the Oakman team’s support, we will prove to be enormously successful. My expectation at this stage is that all six pubs will reopen on May 17 and we will immediately start work on putting our new teams together.”

Dermot King, CEO of The Oakman Group, said: “I am delighted that we have agreed terms to acquire these sites which represent the next stage in our strategic development as we look to extend our boundaries beyond our Home Counties heartland.

Founder and chairman of the Oakman Group, Peter Borg-Neal with chief executive, Dermot King

“We believe that there is significant untapped potential in the premium pub sector, and I am not placing any upper limits on our ambition.”

Sitting alongside Oakman’s existing brands – Oakman Inns and Beech House – this purchase strengthens its aspirations to have 40 pubs in its portfolio by the end of 2021. Following the acquisition, the group will own and operate a total of 33 pubs across the UK and employ more than 1,000.

The Seafood Pub Company went into administration in June after it was unable to access any government financial support amid the coronavirus crisis lockdown. Founded in 2010 it had undergone consistent expansion over the years.

Joycelyn operated 10 popular gastropubs across the North-West including the Barley Mow, Barley, the Assheton Arms, Downham, the Oyster and Otter, Blackburn, and Harrogate's The Inn.

Joycelyn Neve with dad Chris at the Farmers Arms Great Eccleston

Noel Moffitt, Senior Director, Christie and Co., handled the sale on behalf of the Administrators, BDO, and national law firm, Freeths, advised on the deal.

Ryan Grant and Kerry Bailey from BDO LLP were Joint Administrators appointed by the High Court of Justice.