ONE of Otley’s oldest pubs has closed for a £228,000 refurbishment.

The Grade II Listed White Swan, on Boroughgate, will be shut for four weeks while it receives a significant revamp which owners Star Pubs & Bars claim will involve a ‘sympathetic upgrade...whilst retaining its traditional character’.

The refurbishment was originally due to begin in March but the coronavirus lockdown postponed it - though the pub did reopen in July and has been operating ever since.

Licensee Jason Smith said: “We have been kept busy as we show Sky and BT sports in a safe and socially distanced environment. Word has spread so we’ve attracted new customers who either haven’t been able to watch sports in person or are trying out new pubs with seating if they can’t get a seat in their usual haunts.”

The redecoration of the building will increase its seating capacity as well as providing the inn with more flexibility in terms of its layout.

The White Swan’s exterior is also being given a makeover with picnic benches and barrel tables, a stone terrace, festoon lighting and fixed seating (with loose cushions for dry days) being installed.

Mr Smith has already put social distancing and other measures, including multiple hand sanitisers and test and trace reminders, in place to ensure customer safety during the pandemic.

He said: “Customers have been telling us how safe they feel, which is of paramount importance to us.”

Plans for the pub after it reopens include a regular quiz, though live music nights will have to wait until the restrictions are relaxed.

Since lockdown Mr White has also taken on another Star Pubs & Bars site in Otley: The Junction, on Bondgate. He said: “It’s great to be able to offer our White Swan customers somewhere else to enjoy real ales in a safe, warm and welcoming environment. And they can even be served by staff from The White Swan if they want as we are moving the team across to help out while the refurbishment takes place.

“I am delighted with how things are going though I would like to see the 10pm curfew lifted. I would like to thank my manager Emma Beshenivsky, for her and the team’s efforts, and Craig Foweather, from Star, who helped me take on The Junction and ensure it and The White Swan are covid safe.”