NEW mid-week menus will be on offer at the 15th century White Hart in Godmanchester, which has been taken over by a local leisure centre manager. Stephen Cooper, who lives in Great Stukeley, is assistant manager of the district council s St Ivo Leisure Ce

NEW mid-week menus will be on offer at the 15th century White Hart in Godmanchester, which has been taken over by a local leisure centre manager.

Stephen Cooper, who lives in Great Stukeley, is assistant manager of the district council's St Ivo Leisure Centre, in St Ives, where he also manages the bar and catering. This is his first pub.

With 17 years' experience in the catering industry, including a spell at the nearby Black Bull, in Godmanchester, he plans to maintain the White Hart's reputation for fine food while reducing prices for mid-week diners.

He succeeds Willem Middlemiss, who also has a pub in Cambridge city centre, as tenant in a six-figure deal brokered by auctioneers Christie and Company.

The Grade II-listed property, at the junction of Cambridge Road and Ermine Street, is a part timber-framed and part brick structure. Its main restaurant has capacity for 60-70 diners, the bar seats 30, and there is three-bedroom accommodation, a beer garden and patio seating area.

The property was extensively refurbished last year, though Mr Cooper is re-decorating the dining room and improving the kitchen.

Bill Colquhoun, director of Christie, said: "This is the second time we have sold a bar and restaurant in Godmanchester of behalf of Willem Middlemiss, having sold the Exhibition for him in 2005."

Nicholas Baker, mortgage broker for Christie Finance, who sourced the funding for Mr Cooper, added: "Although this is a first time pub purchase for Stephen Cooper, he has a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry and will build on the ongoing success of this restaurant and bar. We were pleased to provide a finance package."

The White Hart has been sold for an undisclosed figure from an asking price of £195,000. The lease runs until 2020, and the current annual rent is £35,000.