A PAIR of first-time property developers will be watched by over a million viewers when they attempt to breathe a new lease of life into one of Rotherham’s most famous pubs.
Intrepid business partners Carl Dent and Rob Toplis attracted the attention of BBC 1’s Homes Under the Hammer crew when they bought the Crinoline Bridge Inn at auction.
Carl, who works for the Sheffield Insulation Group, has teamed up with Rob, managing director of MBS maintenance and building services, for the project.
Thanks to investments they were able to buy the Rawmarsh Road pub where they plan to create a cafe and wine bar downstairs with a separate function room above.
They are also creating a snack bar within a separate building outside.
Their plans are now being documented by Homes Under the Hammer, the show which follows property investors from the auction room to the finish line.
Carl said that he was not feeling the nerves despite being grilled by presenter Martin Roberts and filmed by the crew last Friday.
He said: “We went to the auction specifically for the pub—we saw the cameras there but didn’t think anything of it.
“There were about five other bidders but in the end we got it for the price which was around what we were budgeting for.
“The producers approached us afterwards and asked us to appear on the show, so we thought why not?”
The BBC film crew spent all morning filming around the property and the town as well as interviewing Rob and Carl about their grand plans.
“It was an exciting experience,” said Carl. “It was a bit nerve wracking being in front of the cameras at first but the filming crew was good fun.
“People were stopping and having a look and asking us what we were doing and I do think this project will generate a lot of interest.”
The partners have already started to fill skips and strip the pub down to its bare bones, including removing the famous signs.
Carl said: “We will be giving it a new name, which we’re keeping under wraps.
“We expect the work to take three to six months but the time scale will all depend on things like planning permission, what kind of winter we have and any surprises the building may have in store.
“The only shock we’ve had so far is a dead pigeon which didn’t cause us too many problems.”
And despite the economic downturn, the pair believe that they can create a profitable business.
Carl said: “We are confident about the project and see the risk as minimal. We’re not risking our own homes and we’re not talking silly money.
“We think there is a gap in the market and that we can offer people in Rotherham something different.
“People probably think we’re mad starting a business at a time when pubs are closing every week and people are watching their money but we genuinely believe it will work.
“We want to be able to create somewhere with a nice, friendly atmosphere selling coffee, cakes, snacks and wine etc.”
Carl and Rob are confident that their contacts in the industry will help them to stay on target and build themselves a more comfortable future.
Carl said: “We’ll do as much of the work ourselves as we can and it will be a case of calling in favours with friends and family members.”
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