ONE of the last remaining pubs in Botley has been sold off to an electronics retailer for a new showroom after being branded “unviable” by its former owner.

TV and hi-fi retailer Richer Sounds has snapped up the former George Inn in Botley Road for an undisclosed sum, and aims to open a new showroom on the site within weeks.

The sell-off by company Greene King leaves the Seacourt Bridge in West Way as the sole surviving pub in Botley, which once boasted several different hostelries.

Greene King spokesman Elaine Beckett said the George had closed in early May and the site had now been sold.

She added: “The decision was taken to sell as the pub became unviable as a business.”

Work has now started to transform the site into a showroom for Richer Sounds, which is moving out of Oxford’s Park End Street. Bosses expect the new facility to be open by the end of the month.

Company spokesman Lol Lecanu said: “Our lease is up and we have outgrown our old site.

“Our current stock profile includes a large number of big TVs and we simply didn’t have the room to display them all at our Park End Street location. The new site offers us the opportunity to build a demonstration room and offer customers parking.”

All six staff will relocate to the new store, which is expected to recruit new workers once the move is complete.

The George can trace its roots back to 1726 and is situated on the Oxford city boundary.

Most recently it was run by French chef Michel Sadones along with Phil Radbourne, former landlord of the Woodstock Arms in Woodstock Road.

It joins the Shelley Arms in East Oxford and The Bricklayers Arms in Marston on the list of city pubs to close in the last year.

In the middle of the last century Botley had five pubs.

But during the past 15 years, the Carpenters Arms and the Fair Rosamund have closed, while the Black Horse Inn shut in 1963.

Tony Goulding, pubs officer of the Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “These are tough times.

“A large proportion of the population just don’t care enough about pubs.”