Northeast leisure operator Vaulkhard Group has made its first foray into accommodation with the acquisition of The Diamond Inn.

Co-owner Ollie Vaulkhard told MCA that it had agreed to take over the lease of the Ponteland pub in Newcastle Upon Tyne from Star Pubs & Bars, and would “invest heavily in modernisation and refit”.

He said that while the exact plans are not agreed yet as they are still finalising the legals, “accommodation is a new one for us and something we will manage and learn as we develop the plans for the refit”.

Vaulkhard said the group was currently working with Star and the existing tenant to manage the transition and that the re-opening is pencilled in for summer 2019.

The group has also been given the green light on its licensing application for the former Loch Fyne site in Gosforth, which Vaulkhard described as “a coup for us”. He said they would be looking to open their third Barluga there in March/April 2019. “It’s taken a long time to get here, but it is a very exciting project,” he added.