A CHIPPING Norton pub has new owners.

The 17th century Crown Inn at Church Enstone has been taken over by pub regulars George and Victoria Irvine.

The pub, voted as having best restaurant in The Cotswolds in 2010 and 2011, was bought for the guide price for the freehold of more than £600,000, in a sale brokered by real estate services company Colliers International.

Mr Irvine, an artist who runs George Irvine Fine Art, said: “Victoria and I live nearby and have been going to The Crown Inn for a long time.

"When we were told that it was being sold, Victoria and I looked at each other and we had a bit of a laugh at first about the idea however it soon became serious.

“The Crown is a lovely pub that is full of character, and we are both interested in food and wine.

“We want to preserve the existing character of The Crown and want to serve high quality locally-sourced pub food. We plan to showcase work from local artists and to feature interesting objects that work as conversation pieces.”

George added that one of those objects would be some icing off the wedding cake of the rock star Sting who married the actress Trudie Styler in 1992.

“As an art student I used to work in catering. I was a waiter at Sting’s wedding and saved a piece of the wedding cake from the bin in a jam jar,” he said.

“I’m planning to display it at The Crown.

“We’re also planning to display objects that celebrate the locality, such as nearby RAF Enstone, which was a bomber command operational training unit for Wellington bombers during the Second World War.”

Mr Brunt, a director in Colliers International’s hotels team, said: “The Crown is a perfect Cotswolds pub, with a log fire in the inglenook and beamed ceilings, a cosy garden as well as a terrace which looks out onto the village and its honey-coloured stone cottages.

“It is already operating on a sound business basis, but there is potential to develop the business further and George and Victoria already have numerous ideas, plus the enthusiasm and energy to realise them.

“The sale of The Crown Inn is the latest of several similar sales that I‘ve undertaken, and demonstrates the ability of Colliers to achieve success in the sector for our vendor clients.

“A number have sold in competition, underlining the fact that there are keen buyers waiting for similar pubs if any owners are considering a sale.”