THE owner of a North-East ten-pin bowling alley venture is creating jobs in a new pub business.

Tim Wilks is overseeing the opening of The Fox Hole.

The pub, in Piercebridge, near Darlington, is expected to create 15 full and part-time roles, and will be on the site of the former Carlbury Arms.

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Darlington-based Mr Wilks will partner chef Ellie Richmond and bar manager Jack Bowles, who met while working under Masterchef’s John Torode in London.

The pub is being given a £250,000 overhaul and will open later this summer.

Mr Wilks, who last year opened Newcastle bowling business Lane7, said: “Ellie and Jack are two people I’ve known for some time.

“Their knowledge, skills and unnerving commitment to great service impress me and their plans to run their own pub and dining operation matched our eagerness to expand our own leisure operations.

“We bought the Carlbury Arms earlier this year and we’re now busy putting our own unique stamp on it.

“The village pub needs to be the focal point of that village and we very much hope people living close by will find this attractive.”

Ms Richmond, a former Barnard Castle School pupil, grew up in Darlington and Stokesley, North Yorkshire, and spent more than five years under the tutelage of Frances Atkins at the Michelin-starred Yorke Arms, near Harrogate.

Mr Bowles previously held a management role at London’s Terroirs wine bar and also worked in Melbourne, Australia.

Ms Richmond added: “Jack and I have been keen to have our name above the door of our own place, so this partnership with Tim is perfect in all senses.

“I feel very much back at home now and we’re itching to get in and get the doors open.”

Mr Wilks’ Lane7 venture opened last year in St James’ Boulevard on the back of a £700,000 investment, creating about 30 jobs, and features walnut-finished bowling lanes and 1950s style US ball returns, as well as pool tables and a karaoke booth.

He said at the time: “We've been brainwashed for the past 20 years into thinking bowling is about plastic seats and plastic hot dogs in dreary retail parks, but I want to bring the glamour back.”