Crowdfunding page set up to save Cornish pub

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Uncertain future: licensees set up crowdfunding page to save pub (Image: Google Maps)
Uncertain future: licensees set up crowdfunding page to save pub (Image: Google Maps)

Related tags Cornwall Leasehold estate

A local has set up a crowdfunding page on behalf of licencees to raise enough money to buy their pub to save it from being closed and prevent their family “from being turned out”.

Clare Nicol and Nikki Barrett, who took over the Cornish Choughs, Camborne, in December, said they have been asked to leave the pub by 1 August by owners New River.

The pair claim that despite only signing a tenancy-at-will agreement New River promised them a five-year deal, which never materialised.

Since then, however, the licensees claim they were told the pub had been put up for sale, and they had been given first refusal to purchase it.

“Obviously with only six months books [accounts] this property and business it could be very difficult for us,” said Nicol.

Heart of the community

The couple said they are now worried they will be left “without jobs or a home”.

“This pub is central to the heart of Treswithian and Camborne. Whether you have been going there for 60 years or you’ve just popped in for your first pint you are a welcome member of the community”, the crowdfunding page said.

The full details of why the women were asked to leave the premises remains unclear, but Nicol also claimed other promises made to them by New River were unfulfilled, such as pledges to refurbish the pub and fix gas and electricity at the site.

The pair have raised £230 out of their £100,000 target, with the deadline for fundraising ending on 3 August.

Left with no alternative

In response, David Shipton, asset development director for NewRiver’s pub portfolio, said: “From the moment the publicans took on The Cornish Choughs, last October, we have endeavoured to work closely with them; first to help establish them at the pub under a temporary agreement; then assist them in creating a comprehensive business plan, with a view to them signing a longer term tenancy.

"Indeed, NewRiver encouraged them to take on a five-year tenancy, but no long-term agreement was ever signed.

"Disappointingly, during discussions concerning significant levels of investment and repair works, it became clear that the publicans had breached their temporary tenancy agreement. We have tried hard to resolve this, but further breaches left us with no alternative but to take legal proceedings and serve notice to quit. The pub is for sale as a going concern, and publicans, Clare and Nikki, have expressed an interest in buying it.

"Following sale, NewRiver will have no say in its future use.”

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