A PASSIONATE pub landlord is hoping to make Witham's Cherry Tree a communal ‘hub’.

Chantelle Salhotra, 34, is the proud new boss of the Cherry Tree, in Cressing Road, which is reopening in late April following an extensive £180,000 refurbishment.

She has 17 years of experience working in hospitality and running pubs in south London.

Last year, Chantelle applied to Star Pubs to become the manager for a different pub but after feeling it didn’t fit her personality, she was informed the Cherry Tree was up for grabs.

Braintree and Witham Times: Proud - Chantelle Salhotra outside The Cherry TreeProud - Chantelle Salhotra outside The Cherry Tree (Image: Steve Brading)

As someone who loves hospitality, she knew she was up for the challenge.

Chantelle said: “I just put myself forward and said 'that could be me' - I’ll bring my energy.

“It’s almost part of my blood. Hospitality runs through my veins almost - I’m good at it.

“I love meeting new people from all various backgrounds.

"It’s not just about the job for me. I really am a people person, I love to help people.

Chantelle has some huge plans for the building and wants it “to appeal to everyone”.

The Londoner, who is moving to Witham with 17-year-old son Charlie, wants to set up a reading corner, put on bingo, karaoke, live music, a women’s brunch experience, and much more.

Braintree and Witham Times: Family - Chantelle Salhotra and her son, CharlieFamily - Chantelle Salhotra and her son, Charlie (Image: Public)

She wants to make it community focused and has only employed staff from the town to help run the pub after receiving more than 100 applications to fill nine positions.

Chantelle also wants to get a community defibrillator, as she knows the Templar’s Estate unit has been vandalised. It’s also a topic close to her heart as her father has heart disease and has suffered four heart attacks in the past.

She said: “I really want to integrate the community into the pub. I want it to help fundraise for important causes.

Braintree and Witham Times: Hard worker - Chantelle SalhotraHard worker - Chantelle Salhotra (Image: Public)

“I love the feeling of a community pub. I want it to be a real community hub.

“I’ve reached out to people in the community. I’m also having a blood kit put in place which is accessible to the public.

“I’m working on getting a defibrillator unit. I’m trying my best to reach out to everyone. If I don’t get one, I’ll raise the funds for one.”

The Cherry Tree pub is due to reopen on April 25.