A COUPLE say they plan to “breathe new life and energy” back into a village pub - and give it a new name.

Richard and Lindsey Johns say the Malt Shovel in Hovingham is undergoing a full renovation programme and will then reopen as The Hovingham Inn, hopefully by early May.

The couple, who until recently ran a Michelin-rated restaurant in Raskelf, near Easingwold, say the pub will be a “fully independent, owner operated concern”, with Richard cooking and Lindsey overseeing the front of house operation.

“The Hovingham is the opportunity we have been waiting for, for such a long time, having long believed our style and personalities are very well suited to a pub environment,” they said.

“We hope to offer a product that will satisfy our regular and local customers alike, along with customers who will visit from further afield.”

They said the Hovingham’s food offering would be locally sourced, and concentrate on the modern British classics.

They revealed that they also had plans to offer three to four en-suite rooms within the first 12 months of opening.

The couple said their previous experience included taking on a ‘near dying, rural pub, The Falcon Inn in Withernwick, East Yorkshire.

“Many folks thought we were mad to take on such a place. The pub was initially falling down around our ears but essentially we learnt just what people want and expect from their pub,” they said.

“This we hope to build on once more. In the time we operated the Falcon Inn, we completely turned it around over an 18-month period of very hard and demanding work.

“As a result the pub gained recognition as a Top 30 UK Dining Pub by the Good Food Guide, also gaining entry into the Michelin pub eating out and Michelin guides respectively.”

The couple most recently ran Rascills in Raskelf, but closed it at the beginning of January after two and half years. They said it had become listed in the Michelin, Good Food and Hardens major food guides, and was named Herriot Restaurant of the Year 2018.

However, they constantly battled with problems posed by the location, which was ‘always going to be the Achilles heel, despite receiving fantastic support’ from many long term customers who travelled there from the East Riding of Yorkshire and further afield.

“Despite all the reviews that we have had etc the business just couldn’t gain enough traction necessary to make it a viable, long term venture,” they said.

“We have been in business for over 15 years and have gathered enough experience and understanding to know when a site isn’t going to work out, no matter what is thrown at it.”