One of Marlborough’s oldest pubs will get a £500,000 refit and a name change in a bid to save it.

The historic Sun Inn will be called The Marlborough and become a 100-seat gastro pub, with a new bar and a conservatory at the back.

New owner Jason Kalen took over two weeks ago and has submitted a planning application for the work, which he says will retain the famous pub’s character.

He said: “We want to keep the feel of the pub the same because the locals love it. Instead of closing fireplaces we’ll be opening them, but we also want to appeal to people from the college because at the moment they come here but they don’t stay.”

The pub, which used to be rock star Pete Doherty’s local, has been The Sun Inn since it opened in 1751 but once work has finished it will be renamed.

Mr Kalen said: “We want to put this place on the map and our PR team said the best way to do this is by renaming it and because we want it to be very much part of the town The Marlborough was really the best fit.”

There are five guest rooms at the former coaching inn but Mr Kalen wants to add three more. He previously managed a chain of pubs in London.

His partner Mark Whitely has 20 years experience in the hotel industry.

Mr Kalen said: “I’ve been looking for somewhere in Marlborough for about four years because what the town is missing is somewhere that serves really great food.

“When the Sun Inn became available we took it before it even went on the market. It’s the gem of the High Street and already in our first two weeks we’ve broken records.

“The last three owners have struggled so we can say in effect we have saved The Sun. All the locals have been extremely supportive because they can see we want to put something back into the town and we hope that they will continue to support us through the planning permission and refit.”

Helping Mr Kalen and Mr Whitely, will be general manager Xavier Franco, who previously worked at a restaurant in Beverley Hills.

Mr Kalen said: “We will be offering guests a chauffeur service from Bedwyn, London and Heathrow.”

If planning permission is granted the new bar area and guest rooms will be ready for business in the spring and the conservatory will be open in the summer.