Jennings Brothers, the Cumbrian brewer, says it plans to spend £5m on pub purchases and refurbishments across the North of England this year. The company's director of pub operations, John Houghton, said: "Jennings is always on the lookout for quality pubs to continue growing our estate across the North of England. "Last year was another year of expansion for Jennings, and we are already looking at a number of worthwhile sites with an eye to improving our portfolio further in 2004." Jennings bought 10 pubs for its estate in 2003. Its latest purchases include the include the Royal Hotel in East Loftus, North Yorkshire, The Ox-fford in Macclesfield, The Horse and Farrier in Dacre, Cumbria, the Bascule Bar in Newcastle and The Charlaw in Chester-le-Street.