A FORMER Stockbridge pub is to be given a new lease of life when it re-opens as a retail and residential block next month.

The 18th century coaching inn, the Vine Inn, in the High Street, closed in 2012 and is now being replaced with a string of businesses, homes and parking in a development by DC Li Builders.

The Grade II-listed building, to be called the Vine Yard, will now include three holiday apartments, a seamstress, hairdressers, estate agents, offices and stores for bridal wear, pianos and wine.

Vine Pianos owner Deborah Barlow is looking forward to the Vine Yard’s grand opening on December 1.

She said: “I suffered a serious horse riding accident last year so I decided to use the opportunity to return to my formerly loved occupation as a piano tuner which I’ll be doing in Stockbridge’s Vine Yard.

“It’s quite ironic that I’m now leasing a converted stable. One day I was talking about my love of riding and the beautifully converted stables and DC Li said to me ‘you wouldn’t be opening Vine Pianos without having that riding accident.’ He is right and I’m so chuffed.”

Deborah’s store will host of range of “everything related to pianos” including tuning, restoring, repairs, hiring for events, musical gifts and even lessons with a teacher.

Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) approved the scheme with conditions for measures to safeguard sensitive habitats and species such as the

water vole which live adjacent to the site.

TVBC economic development and tourism portfolio holder councillor David Drew said: “This is a creative and innovative project using a former public house building.

“It provides space for retail units that locals have asked for and adds additional economic vibrancy to Stockbridge High Street.”