Urban Inns co-founder David Catling has returned to the pub sector after taking on The Belle in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire.

Catling has acquired the freehold of the former Punch Taverns pub, and is turning it into a destination lounge-bar and restaurant, targeted at nights out for the area’s affluent professionals.

The Belle Freehouse and Restaurant will have a premium spirits-led drinks offer, and a Middle Eastern inspired food menu, which makes use of British core ingredients.

He told MCA: “We have had a complete change in direction. It was a local pub that appealed to a small local market in the village, but we are looking to widen the appeal to a 15-20 mile radius, including Cambridge, and Royston,

“It’s pointless playing safe, and doing what everyone else is doing. A lot of the old guard that came before, it will be a marmite moment for them.

“It’s going to be a premium offer with a primary focus on a fun night out, it’s the experience we’re looking to bring people

“There will be a lower age group – 25-50 – with groups of women, people celebrating. Instead of small numbers coming often, we want more people coming less often.”

“There is nobody in the area doing what we’re about to do.”

Catling built Urban Inns up to four sites with partner Don MacIntyre before it was split up and sold off in part to Greene King.

The concept for the business involved reviving under-invested London pubs and turning them into boutique inns, with a quality food and drink offer.

Catling is also chief executive of Nexo, a data analytics platform for the hotel sector, and plans to introduce some of these elements to The Belle.

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