THE new tenants of one of Oxford’s oldest pubs will decide whether it will remain a gay bar.
But the estate agent marketing the The Jolly Farmers in Paradise Street says it looks likely to continue as a LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – venue.
Oxford City Council, which owns the property, is looking for new tenants to take over the £30,000 a year lease.
Its 50-year lease with the current tenants is coming to an end later this year but it is not being advertised as a gay bar.
Despite this estate agent Paul Tallentyne, director of Davis Coffer Lyons, which is marketing the property, said it was the best business plan for the pub.
He said: “We are looking at a wide range of uses including a gay pub and it is for the people who take it on to determine what they want. I am pretty sure it will remain as a gay pub. The council asked that we should go with the business plan put forward.”
His colleague Charlotte Wild said the price reflected the size of the property and the fact it needed work done to it.
The Jolly Farmers has been a gay bar since 1981.
Stuart Hayles, the pub’s manager, said: “The pub company let it on a 50-year lease which runs out in September.
“The council obviously has to market the lease to get the best rate for the taxpayer.
“We have put an offer in and we are waiting for the council to make its decision.
“The company which currently has the lease, Trust Inns, doesn’t want to keep it on a leasehold so it has told the council it will return it to them.
“If we are successful with our offer we will stay.”
Mr Hayles said The Jolly Farmers was the oldest gay pub outside London and Brighton.
When asked about its future as a gay pub he said: “I imagine most people who take it on will know that it has been a gay pub for more than 30 years.”
The Jolly Farmers site dates back to around 1300.
City council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “The Jolly Farmers has been marketed although we have been working with the current occupier to help then remain in situ.”
Trust Inns, the company which holds the lease until September, said it was unable to comment.