Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Stars back Primrose Hill pub in M&B row

This gets right to the heart of what is wrong with the pub industry in Britain, where true value is misunderstood and interpreted only through the filter of corporate greed.

M&B should be forced to sell the freehold to Olivier and Osborne who have long proven themselves to be the rightful owners. They have made the Engineer their own. It's only their tenure there that has made the pub the significant place that it is. Corporates should not be able by statute to upturn and take speculative advantage of decades of success created by other people's vision just because property law allows it.

The Engineer, along with The Landsdowne, also in Primrose Hill, and The Eagle in Farringdon Road, are the pub businesses that inspired a complete revolution in catering across the whole of Britain - it was people like Abi and Tamsin, along with Mick Belben and Dave Eyre at the Eagle, who stuck their necks out and set up 'their own' transformative catering businesses in pubs in the early to mid 1990's. The pubs these people took on with their own investment had been run into the ground by an outmoded visionless morally bankrupt pub industry that had completely ground to a halt in terms of investment and development. Their lead encouraged many people, including me in setting up The Sun and Doves in 1995, to leave the West End and establish their own pioneering businesses in places further afield where all pubs had become vile stinking sticky floored boozers no one wanted to go to unless they had dogs on string in tow.

There are fundamental rights & wrongs here that are applicable right across the property spectrum. The freeholder has had its profit out of this business again and again. There should come a point at which model tenants gain the right to assert their tenure legally over a property they have improved, maintained, built up and put on the map over a period of decades - legislation should protect tenants in a situation like this where the freeholder will simply set up its own business for free which piggy backs on the reputation, goodwill and enormous turnover its tenants have built up through their own vision, passion, financial investment and sheer consistent application of personal hard graft over a long period.

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