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New owners sought for Graveney's Freewheel Pub

By Anna MacSwan

A much-loved village pub will close unless a new owner can be found.

The Freewheel Pub and Cycling Cafe in Graveney opened in 2015 in what used to be the Four Horseshoes, which had been empty for more than a year.

But having brought the pub back to life, landlord Adrian Oliver has decided to move on.

Adrian Oliver at the Freewheel pub, Graveney
Adrian Oliver at the Freewheel pub, Graveney

The decision is due to not being able to make enough money during the summer season to cover the winter months.

The Freewheel was set to close yesterday but the village has since rallied and is looking for ways to keep it going.

It will now remain open for the next month to allow time for a new buyer to come forward.

Mr Oliver said he found the response heartening.

He said: “It’s lovely and encouraging. I suppose secretly I was hoping we would get this reaction, but I’m delighted.

“However the reality is that we are still looking for someone to take over the pub. We have given it a good shot, we have achieved an awful lot, and it is time for someone else to take over.

“We are giving it a month for people to come up with formal proposals, and we will review there. Hopefully there will be something good for the pub and good for the village.

“My hope is that it will continue, and it will continue to grow.”

Set just two minutes from a national cycle route, the Freewheel is the UK’s first cycling pub.

Mr Oliver, who is from Faversham and plans to return to working in marketing, is also the co-founder of CycleAge, which offers tailored cycling lessons to the public.

He said: “It’s bittersweet. The last couple of years have been incredibly exhausting, but also incredibly rewarding. To get it up and running, to get it known not only locally but nationally, has been very rewarding.

“The costs of running a 200-year-old building are high. We were hoping it would be turning over more than it is at this precise point. We couldn’t see that it was going to be viable in the short term.

“It’s very seasonal and we are reliant on a good summer. Early summer was great, but the weather in August made things difficult.”

The pub is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and for key activities such as its Wednesday bus pass lunch and Thursday bridge club.

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