Having contested a rent hike with their private landlord for 18 months, Andrew and Mary Jane Fishwick were told today (4 August) the rent of their Maida Vale site would be increased from £75,000 to £250,000 per year and they would be expected to pay backdated rent to December 2014 of approximately £330,000.
Andrew told The Morning Advertiser (MA): “This [rent hike] makes our beloved business untenable. It is with huge sadness that we have to announce that we will be closing the Truscott Arms with immediate effect."
He added: “We are incredibly proud of all the Truscott Arms means. Not just because we created an exceptional, award-winning pub but because we built a meaningful hub in our community. A hub that was run with passion by a loyal, dedicated team.”
As well as consistently ranking among the UK’s Top 50 Gastropubs since it opened in 2013 and drawing critical acclaim for its wine list, the Truscott Arms won the Sustainable Restaurant Association's (SRA) Sustainable Pub of the Year. And in 2014, it won an award for serving the best roast dinner in Britain. Andrew was also a finalist for this year's BII Licensee of the Year award.
The couple successfully had the pub listed as an asset of community value in April 2015. It was also, until this news broke, a finalist in the Best Wine Pub category for the upcoming Great British Pub Awards 2016.
Andrew said: “It is with exceptional, profound devastation that we are closing the doors. We love this place, we love its soul and all who have contributed to it.”
The Fishwick’s wine bar, the Truscott Cellar in Belsize Park, will also close as a result, MA understands.
The rent demanded of them showed a total lack of understanding of the margins and costs of running a hospitality business, Andrew explained.
He added: “We will continue to work hard to promote this important industry and care about the issues faced, so that British public houses are protected.”
At the time of writing, The Morning Advertiser has been unable to contact the landlord, Heage Holdings Ltd., for comment.