Pub closure

Frustrated licensees lose out to law firm in pub sale

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Licensees miss out on Waterloo Arms Abermule law firm

Related tags: Public house

Two licensees who believed they had secured the freehold of a closed pub have been left frustrated after it was unexpectedly sold to a law firm.

Phil Burns and Michelle Thomas, who have spent 20 years in the trade, were on the hunt for a pub, and put an offer in for Admiral Taverns-owned Waterloo Arms in Abermule in Powys mid Wales, in February.
“Our offer was accepted by Admiral Taverns and we celebrated that we had saved a British pub,” Burns said.

They said they were informed the deal was set to go ahead and should transfer funds, but were later unexpectedly told the deal was off as another offer had been accepted.

'Frustrated and disappointed"

The pair said they were “frustrated and disappointed”, especially given they were cash buyers offering above the asking price, but assumed the buyer would be another licensee who would keep the venue as a pub.

“You can imagine our reaction when we found out the premises are being turned into offices. People are saying pubs should be saved from closing, but we are finding it more frustrating trying to find a closed pub to buy and keep as a pub! This should be an easy task with on average 27 pubs closing a week,” Burns said.

The licensees claim the pub was a viable business, particularly as they would not have to struggle with high rent or mortgage payments as cash buyers.

But the building is now owned by Auxilium Legal, which plans to convert the building into an office, with accommodation above.

Final stages

Burns and Thomas said they were given no reason as to why the deal was called off, but Admiral Taverns claimed the sale to Auxilium was in its final stages when they received their offer.
A spokesman for the pubco said: “At Admiral our preference will always be to maintain a pub as a pub,
providing it has a long term viable future. Unfortunately in this instance the pub had been on the market for
three years and an offer had already been accepted and was in the very final stages
of exchange.”

Related topics: Property law

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