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The Development Bank of Wales funds businesses that they think will benefit Wales and its people. The ones that will create ripples of growth- those that are more than a good business model or a great idea.


New Owner Aims to Create the First Off-Grid Pub in the UK


The new owner of The Butchers Arms in Pontsticill has embarked on an eco-transformation of the popular restaurant and bunkhouse.

With a career in hospitality, entertainment and ecommerce, Andrew Owen used a six-figure loan from the Development Bank of Wales to fund the purchase of the 200-year-old restaurant, pub and bunkhouse accommodation at the gateway of Bannau Brycheiniog, Brecon Beacons.

Support from Business Wales and grant funding from Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council means that Andrew is now hoping to begin an eco-transformation that will see The Butchers Arms become the UK’s first off-grid bar, restaurant and accommodation by 2025.

Work to date includes fully insulating the building and replacing the oil boiler with an eco-friendly electric system. Andrew is also hoping to install solar panels and EV charging points, and purchase two electric minibuses to help shuttle guests to and from local attractions.

Andrew said:

“This is a beautiful pub in a stunning location. When the previous owners decided to sell, I didn’t have to think twice about buying it, so I am very grateful to the Development Bank of Wales for their support.

“The Butchers Arms is loved by locals, adventurers and nature lovers but had high carbon emissions. I could immediately see the opportunity to create something truly special by decarbonising the building and aiming to become the first off-grid pub in the UK. I’m really hopeful that these initiatives will help to promote tourism in the local area so that the wider community also benefits.”

John Babalola, an Assistant Investment Executive with the Development Bank of Wales, structured the finance. He said:

“The Butchers Arms is at the heart of the Pontsticill community and is a key part of the tourism offering in this area. The business is also a provider of employment which is one of the reasons why we were keen to support Andrew with the purchase of the business to help keep the jobs. He is now embarking on an exciting programme of eco-transformation that really will put Pontsticill on the tourism map of Wales.”

The loan for the Butchers Arms came from the £500 million Wales Flexible Investment Fund, financed by the Welsh Government and  Development Bank of Wales. Loans, mezzanine finance, and equity investments are available for businesses based in Wales from £25,000 to £10 million.


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