The reopening of historic Lamb & Flag pub has been delayed for the third time.

The pub in St Giles, one of the city's oldest, closed in January last year due to adverse trading conditions in the pandemic.

But community interest group the Inklings then took over the running of the St John's College-owned pub.

Read again: Lamb & Flag reopening delayed as landlord quits

Initially, the group hoped it would reopen in time for Christmas, then reopening was delayed again in February after landlord Phil Jones quit, and now it has been announced that reopening after Easter is no longer on the cards.

Oxford Mail: The Lamb & Flag in St Giles

Dave Norwood, who helps to run the Inklings group, said at a private party at the pub in February that he wanted to reopen after Easter.

But that hope has now been dashed, as renovation work has proved more complex than expected.

Mr Norwood said: "The reality is that my (and I’m using the personal because it’s me and my optimism that should take the blame) hope to open the pub soon after Easter will not be realised. I am really sorry.  

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"The renovation work required to make the pub fit for 2022 and beyond was more extensive than we initially expected, and we have learned more along the way. Everyone agrees that the toilets are a transformation, but we are still grappling with the kitchen and extraction, the electrics,

"Due to the Grade II listing of the pub, and its historical significance as an Oxford landmark, some of these improvements inevitably require listed building consent.

"The protections are especially high, given the pub is within the Central Oxford Conservation Area."

Oxford Mail:

Mr Norwood said the city council has been 'helping and guiding us through this complex process'.

He added "I think they are keen to see the pub reopen as much as we are, and seem genuinely enthused that we’ve come together as a community venture.  

"I’m also delighted that we have engaged Anoushka Rowland Payne as a consultant to secure all the permissions and oversee the completion of the project.

"Her specialism is in this period of English architecture and social history, which has been helpful in her drafting of our Listed Building Consent application.

Oxford Mail:

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"The Lamb is lucky enough to have a fine 17th century fireplace, strong original beams, and a charming Tudor floorplan, winding along and abutting Lamb and Flag Passage.

"To do justice to these features by incorporating them into the restoration, our every step must be documented and approved."

Mr Norwood said he hoped that the pub would reopen 'in the summer'.

Oxford Mail: Members of Oxford CAMRA look at the pub's old cellar Photo: Phil Gammon

Dave Richardson, of the Oxford branch of real ale group CAMRA, said the delay was disappointing and added: "Hopefully it will be worth waiting for."

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