THE sale of a village pub to a large chain has been welcomed by as a boost for the local community.

The Winton Arms in Pencaitland has been bought by Edinburgh-based Caledonian Heritable.

At a meeting of East Lothian Licensing Board, the move was welcomed, along with the promise to turn the local pub into a bar bistro.

Councillor Willie Innes, council leader, said that the investment in the pub was welcomed in East Lothian.

He said: “When you have a community that has only one licence it is valued and across many communities licences have been at risk and the number of closures has increased.

“To see a major company investing in, and hopefully promoting, this licensed premises for a considerable period of time is good for the community and East Lothian.”

Paul Arnott, from Caledonian Heritable, told the licensing board the company was looking to bring it into line with its other East Lothian premises with new licensing hours and restaurant facilities on the site.

They applied for opening hours of 11am to 11pm Monday to Wednesday, with 1am closing times on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and a midnight closing time on Sunday. They were also granted a licence to sell off-sales between 11am and 10pm seven days a week.

Provost John McMillan said he was confident that the pub would thrive under the new ownership.

He said: “The new ownership brings with it the company’s reputation for quality and serious management.”