forces host to
The increasing burden of red tape has driven one freehold host to pack up and leave the country.
Paul Parker, who jets off for a new life in Spain next month, feared there would be no more freehold pubs left within 10 years, due to the multiplying costs of licensing reform on top of other financial burdens.
Parker, who has run the Plough Inn at Stretton-on-Fosse in Warwickshire for three years, estimated that licensing reform had cost him £2,500.
He said that he had to hire a solicitor because he a former police officer, magistrate and stock broker could not understand the application form.
Parker also hit out at the 'lunacy of his council for saying he must not let anyone into the pub after 11.30pm, even though the pub has a 1am licence. This means people who want a drink after going to the theatre in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon would probably not make it in time.
The host criticised the barrage of unnecessary requests from environmental health officers. Among other things, they asked for the shelves in his kitchen to be made form stainless steel, even though they only hold six tin cans.
'Every day you open the post there's a new rule to follow, said Parker.
'I've just had enough of bureaucracy in this business. We are being crushed all around us by the weight of red tape.
'If I run my business the same way as the councils, I would be out of business within a month.
Parker insisted that he will certainly not be looking to run a bar when he decamps to Spain on 3 October. He will basically be retired, just doing the odd job for friends.