Work on the Leaping Salmon is forging ahead, with a re-opening date of May 1 as the target.
New landlord Chris Andrews, of Sortridge, is accepting the conditions set by Dartmoor National Park Authority and says none of them are onerous enough to stop his plans.
He has to hire an approved archaeologist to watch all “ground works” and report on them in detail, but says that applies only to the breaking of new ground in the car park.
He has already stripped out two feet of concrete from most of the interior ground floor, built up over years of piecemeal alterations, and the vast old main fireplace is now exposed down to its original base, making it a foot higher.
“I’ve got no idea why the place ever wanted a fireplace like that for a space this size,” he said today, kicking through the rubble of the work in progress. “I’d be interested to hear any theories.”
He will have a stove in it.
The walls have been stripped back to stone, which will be plaster-washed and sealed so that the shape of the original construction shows through. The new slate roof is almost complete and is being fitted with old-fashioned iron guttering and downpipes.
The main bar will be roughly where it was, with a dining room to the left and entry through to an all-day corner cafe on the right.
DNPA has imposed a restriction of 28 days in one year for any occupants of the upstairs accommodation. But Mr Andrews says he did not intend any long-term letting anyway. He might eventually want to use a room for staff accommodation but believes that can be arranged later if necessary.
He said: “Planning is never easy, but actually, DNPA have been quite helpful on a number of points.”
The picture below shows Mr Andrews (left) with his management team – his son Fred Andrews, 28, on the right, and Max Phillips, in the centre, who went to school with Fred in Devonport.
Both have history in the catering trade – Fred Andrews most recently at a restaurant in Launceston and Max Phillips in Totnes.
Now they are both at work on the preparations at the Salmon. Other staff will be required later. A website with contact details is under construction.
The team …
PS: Jail Ale might well be coming back, “if the demand is there”.
nice picture of the fireplace, below, was taken by Fred Andrews