Rachel Burke of the Cross Keys in Knutsford, Cheshire, and her husband, Andrew, have agreed to stay at the pub until the end of March, after accepting compensation from Enterprise — equivalent to the value of the assignment premium.
Enterprise is planning to make a significant investment in the site — a 17th-century coaching inn with 13 letting rooms — with work expected to start within the next six to eight weeks, and to recruit a new general manager.
The Cross Keys is the 15th managed pub within Enterprise’s Bermondsey Pub Company estate. A spokesman said: “A deal has been done with Rachel and Andrew, and it’s all been very amicable. They’re staying on at the pub for a couple of months until a new manager can be put in place.”
He added Enterprise had agreed a level of compensation that “reflected what the couple had been offered as a lease assignment”.
The Burkes had originally been told by Enterprise that their lease renewal and assignment to local businessman Matthew Mooney had been halted at the last minute because of the imminent introduction of a market rent-only (free-of-tie) option for lessees. Chief executive Simon Townsend described the decision as “one of the unfortunate unintended consequences” of Government legislation.
Rachel Burke told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser she was satisfied with the proposed outcome: “Things are progressing in the right direction, and Enterprise has co-operated with us thus far.”
However, she added that she would prefer to wait until the deal was finalised before commenting further.