Commercial property

Work starts on new Swindon pub: The Strawberry Thief

Written by Peter Davison on .

George Arkell, Justin Tomlinson, and Craig Morton


Work has started on a new Swindon pub, The Strawberry Thief.

The pub is being built for Crest Nicholson's 1,855-home Tadpole Garden Village development in north Swindon by town-based brewery Arkell's.

It will be the first built by the brewery in almost 20 years.

The first turf was turned this week by North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson before the diggers moved on site.

The name is inspired by a textile design by Arts & Crafts innovator William Morris. He created the pattern – which features thrushes – in 1883 after catching the birds stealing fruit from his kitchen at Kelmscott Manor.

The William Morris theme runs through Tadpole Garden Village with street names and the school named after the textile designer.

Arkell’s Brewery managing director George Arkell said: “We’re really excited to finally be starting this project and it’s wonderful to have our MP along to formally commence the work.

"It has been a long and very challenging year for us all and it is fabulous for us to be able to look forwards not backwards.

"The Strawberry Thief is the biggest project we have undertaken in years. The Tadpole community have been really supportive and encouraging as it has taken a long time to actually start construction on site.

"We are immensely proud to be investing in Swindon; it’s our home town and we can’t wait to see the build take shape and evolve into a fantastic neighbourhood pub.”

Justin Tomlinson said: “Having represented this field for 21 years as both councillor and MP, I’m absolutely thrilled that I was able to put the spade in the ground to start the build of this fantastic new community facility.

"The growing Tadpole Farm and neighbouring communities are very excited to see these works begin, so it is with huge thanks, yet again, to the Arkell’s family for backing and investing in Swindon. I have no doubt this new pub will be a huge success.”

The pub has been designed by Clark & Maslin, an architectural practice based in Malmesbury, and Concorde BGW Group.

Ian Maslin from Clark and Maslin said: “Enormous thought and effort has gone into the design, layout and fenestration so the building complements the existing setting of the Tadpole village.

"Natural materials have been used throughout to provide a sustainable building that will stand the testament of time.

"We hope the pub will achieve a balance between being a destination pub and neighbourhood pub; it will feature open fires, a welcoming bar and a fantastic garden overlooking the village green and cricket pitch.

"The project has been a long time coming with the interruption of the pandemic but it’s great news that work has finally commenced on this very exciting project.”

Swindon-based Edmont Ltd will be responsible for the construction. Edmont are a highly experienced contractor with over 50 years’ experience in construction, fit-out, joinery and M&E, and a longstanding partner of Arkell’s having worked together on a number of projects throughout the years.

Craig Morton, managing director at Edmont Ltd, said: “We are delighted to continue our longstanding working relationship with Arkell’s following our appointment as main contractor on this project.

"This will be the fourth new build public house Edmont have undertaken for Arkell’s and we are proud to be involved in creating exciting new spaces for the local community. We look forward to working with Arkell’s to make this project a success.”

Pictured: George Arkell, Justin Tomlinson, and Craig Morton