Enterprise: Community rallies round licensee after lease is terminated

By Emily Sutherland

- Last updated on GMT

Licensee Ayman Zahran has thanked the local community for its support
Licensee Ayman Zahran has thanked the local community for its support

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An Enterprise Inns licensee has thanked his local community for its 'overwhelming' support after the pub company ended his lease.

Ayman Zahran, who took over the Red Lion in Claverdon, Warwick, in 2009, told a local newspaper: "When I came here, this is what I wanted for the community to be like one big family. Over the years, we have supported a lot of things that have been going on in the village, like moving the community shop to a new location and helping with fundraising for Warwick Hospital.

"Everyone who works for me gets a share of the profits the pub makes, so they care about how the business is going and care that it is part of their community."

A petition protesting the decision has attracted almost 700 signatures and local Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi is also backing the campaign, describing Zahran as the "driving force" behind the pub. Almost 100 residents attended a meeting at the pub to discuss its future. 

"I was very sorry to hear that Mr Zahran's lease of the Red Lion would not be extended by Enterprise Inns, especially considering the time, effort and money he has put in to make the pub better and better. I have written to Enterprise's chief executive asking him to personally look at what can be done to reconsider this decision," Stratford-upon-Avon MP Zahawi said.

On TripAdvisor, one user said: "Very welcoming service from Ayman and his staff. I hope that Enterprise Inns sees sense and allows Ayman to continue to keep running the Red Lion for many years to come as his enthusiasm is the main reason we keep returning time after time."

A spokesperson from Enterprise said: "Having carefully reviewed all the available options, we can confirm that we have decided not to offer Mr Zahran a new lease agreement at the Red Lion.

"We have acted fully within the terms of the lease by serving six months' notice to Mr Zahran and we intend to work with him to find and secure an alternative Enterprise site for his restaurant operation in Claverdon. We would like to ensure the residents of Claverdon and the surrounding area that the Red Lion will remain as a licensed premises and hope that they continue to visit and enjoy their local pub."

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