Thursday, October 06, 2011

6 October 2011 14:44

subject: so sorry about Sun and Doves

Its closure is a devastating loss for our whole area - social and economic.

I live across the road on Flaxman. I am so sorry this has happened to you after all you did to make that pub brilliant. I actually work for the BIS committee in Parliament, I did not know you were giving evidence to them but I was pleased when they recommended finally legislating against the beer tie - too late for you though.

I would dearly love to imagine you could repoen it but it doesn't sound like it. Do they really think someone else is going to rent it from them? Have they seen what happens to closed pubs around Loughborough Junction? what a foolish, greedy, usurious, short-sighted group they are - they have single-handedly destroyed a local mini community.


Dear Jessica

Thanks for taking the time to get in touch. I wonder if you know Louise Whiteley?

The fallout from pubcos is all over the UK. What they have been doing to pubs for the last quarter century is asset stripping the nation. It's a cultural crime of enormous proportions. The Wickwood Tavern on Flaxman could have remained a pub had it not been for its being owned by Youngs - who now brew no beer and have been moving their estate into tenanted and tied over the last ten years or so because it makes so much more money for them than managing their pubs themselves- and without all the hassle of having to look after property and to pay staff to serve customers. Much better to get lessees to do ALL the work then steal everything they earn through a combination of applying the beer tie outside the limits of its original intention and by aggressive rent reviews.

Not sure you know this but I'm one of the founders of the Fair Pint Campaign. We were instrumental in getting TISC BESC AND BISC to know what's really going on and my own experience at The Sun and Doves is what informed me directly about the behaviour of pubco's.

I will never be back at the Sun and Doves unless I get to buy the freehold which is an extraordinarily remote likelihood. The pub is a big income maker for Scottish & Newcastle Pubco and is very likely to be let to a pub chain outfit like Grand Union - pubcos are looking to get chains into their leases now because they think there's less chance of them going out of business than individuals.

The writing is on the wall for companies like S&NPC their management is utterly flawed and their practices unsustainable. As these companies fail there are opportunities for radical change in the pub sector but only for a limited period. Once pubs have been on the market long enough they will be granted change of use - and once that happens there is no turning back the clock on British history.

It's one reason why I'm working on setting up The People's Pub Partnership now. The John Lewis of pubco's if you don't mind the shorthand. If you'd like to know more about it as it develops I will add your email to a mail list for it. Would you mind me doing that?

Once more thanks

Best wishes

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