Berkeley Inns, the fledgling pub company led by online dating pioneer Howard Thacker, is eyeing an estate of up to 15 pubs, MCA has learnt.

As reported by MCA last week the group is set to open its second site - the Cock Inn in Mugginton, Derbyshire, after a substantial refurbishment.

The group bought the freehold of the former Marston’s pub last year, when it also opened the Three Horseshoes in Ashbourne, with Michelin-trained chef Gareth Ward as head chef.

MCA understands that the company has lined up the Blue Bell Inn in the Derbyshire village of Kirk Langley for a further opening next year.

Laura Timson, marketing manager for the group told MCA that there were plans for further growth.

She said: “We would like to get another 12 or 13 venues. We are looking across the Midlands but we would also look outside to get the right sites.

“The whole ethos of Berkeley basically came out of Howard wanting to build the kind of pub he wanted to spend time in. A lot of country pubs have suffered with under-investment and a lack of innovation and we want to change that.”

The company recently welcomed to its board veteran property expert, David Newnes, formerly of LSL Property Services, where he oversaw the acquisition of YourMove; and Rick Palmer, formerly of the Mortgage Advice Bureau and chief executive of BriefYorMarket.com.

Newnes also helped steer the LSL through its float on the stock exchange in 2006, which valued the business at £208m.

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