Oakman Group is preparing to start work on five new sites, in Buckingham, Epsom, Wokingham, Harpenden and Hatfield.

Executive chairman Borg-Neal said the acquired properties would have accommodation, with work delayed on them due to Covid.

He told MCA: “We will do one at a time and hope to go on site with the first one in April.”

He was speaking following Oakman’s signing of a 25-year lease on The Woburn Hotel, which he said the company would invest a “substantial” sum on.

The investment will focus on the food and beverage offer. “We think we can create a fantastic Oakman-style venue on the ground floor and that’s where the capital will go. The rooms are lovely and we won’t need to spend anything on them,” he said.

It will be the first time that revenue from rooms would be as big as, if not bigger than, food and beverage, he said.

But the hotel did not mark a shift towards prioritising accommodation over pure pub sites.

Borg-Neal said the pandemic had been financially challenging and it would take 18 months to restore profits.

“We’ve also raised just short of £7m in two raises since we closed with private investors,” he said.