Marston's tries to sell pub with vacant possession despite tenancy until 2016

By James Wallin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pub Landlord Sales

David Andrews said the positioning of for-sale signs around his pub put customers off
David Andrews said the positioning of for-sale signs around his pub put customers off
A tenant has complained about Marston’s tactics in trying to sell his pub from under him – which included offering vacant possession despite his tenancy running until June 2016.

David Andrews also said for-sale boards erected in front of the signs for the Fisherman’s Rest in Belper, Derbyshire, had “killed” his business, with even regulars avoiding the venue.

Andrews said there has been “absolutely no communication” with his landlord - a charge Marston’s has denied, saying they are in discussions to resolve the situation.

Andrews took on the pub with his mother and father in April 2013 – after a period in which it had received considerable bad publicity over a food hygiene scandal.

He said: “We worked hard to turn this pub around and I’m proud of what we’ve done – but that’s in spite of Marston’s not because of them.

“When I took on the pub absolutely nothing was said about selling it then about two and a half months after they announced it out of the blue. When they told me they said ‘you look shocked’, I said ‘of course, this is my home’.”

Andrews said as soon as signs went up, trade was affected.

He said: “The for-sale signs have killed the pub. We have even had regulars staying away because they assumed we had been sold.”

He said he only found out the pub was being sold with vacant possession when a chartered surveyor mentioned it during a visit.

Mockery

“It makes a complete mockery of my tenancy and makes it so obvious that all they want to do is get shot of the pub to a developer,” he said.

“I would say 90% of the people who have been to see it are developers. Some aren’t even interested in looking inside the pub. They just go straight out to the car park.”

The particulars for the sale describe the pub as “likely to be of interest to local developers and builders”. Its freehold is on the market for £250,000.

Phil Barnett, operations director form Marston’s, said: “We are in discussion with Mr Andrews and anticipate this will be resolved imminently. These are however not all the facts of this situation, that is between Mr Andrews and Marston’s.”

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