REGULARS who bought their Gwent country watering hole nine years ago, amid fears it would be taken over by a pub chain, have put it up for sale.

And one of Newport’s most popular restaurants – Junction 28 – is also on the market, with the current owner deciding to sell up due to health problems.

Six locals in the village of Grosmont, near Abergavenny, forked out £250,000 to buy The Angel Inn in 2005, because they feared it would either be shut because of falling trade, or be taken over by a chain.

Surgeons Witek Mintowt-Czyz and Gareth Thomas, nurse Jenny Pile, builders Martin Cull and Rob Barker, and venture capitalist Oliver Huntsman wanted to keep their community pub.

They put The Angel Inn pub back at the centre of village life and within months business was booming – but it is now back on the market with agent Sidney Phillips for £245,000 freehold.

The brochure reads: “Our clients, a group of local residents, acquired the premises in order to secure its future some seven years ago.

“They have run the premises under management and have embarked on a programme of maintenance and refurbishment in order to ensure the pub’s future.

“Having done this, they now wish to offer the premises for sale to those wishing to pursue a career in the pub trade, in order that the premises will continue to be at the heart of village life.”

The pub made sales of £195,000 last year and the owners anticipate that in the right hands this could grow considerably.

The sale is subject to a restrictive covenant whereby the property can only be used as a public house.

When the regulars bought the pub, the Campaign for Real Ale encouraged other villagers in the UK to do likewise, in an effort to preserve country pubs.

The Argus attempted to contact the owners but no-one was available to comment.

Meanwhile in Newport, the battle scars from a 15-year rugby career, and the subsequent impact upon his health, are the driving force behind 69-year-old Richard Wallace’s decision to sell Junction 28.

The former Bristol rugby union player and Wales rugby league international has owned the restaurant at Bassaleg for more than 20 years – he co-owns it with chef Jon West – during which period it has thrived.

Last year Mr Wallace sold the Llanwenarth Hotel just outside Abergavenny, as the physical strain of running the hotel became too much, due to mobility problems caused by what he described at the time as his old rugby injuries “coming home to roost.”

Now his health problems have prompted the sale of Junction 28, which is being placed freehold on the market for £875,000 by specialist property adviser Christie and Company.

“Under Richard Wallace and Jon West’s stewardship, Junction 28 has become an established, popular and highly profitable restaurant business in South Wales,” said Christie and Company’s Nicholas Calfe, who said the sale provides “an ideal business opportunity” for an experienced operator.

“We hope we can send Richard off to a well-deserved, long and happy retirement with a quick sale,” said Mr Calfe.