Greene King ‘racist connotation’ pubs renamed
More than 7,000 pubgoers have voted for new names at four Greene King pubs which had "racist connotations", The Morning Advertiser (MA) has reported.
The Suffolk-based pubco announced plans to relabel a number of pubs in its portfolio due to the existing names having racist connotations last month (January).
Greene King asked communities to rename the pubs via an online poll and stated the decision to change the names is part of its inclusion and diversity strategy in a bid to champion equality and diversity within the firm alongside further supporting people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
The 3,100-strong group said the name change followed detailed consultations with a range of stakeholders and thorough research of the pubs’ histories.
The Black Boy in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, for example, received 3,540 votes with almost three quarters (73%) choosing the West Gate.
What’s more, some 1,923 people voted on the name change for the Blacks Head in Wirksworth, Derbyshire with 44% voting for the new name to be the Quarryman.
The news comes after a poll by global intelligence platform Streetbees found that one third (31%) of Brits would actively avoid drinking in a pub if its name or signage had racial connotations or commemorated a historical figure associated with slavery, racism or colonialism.
City of London extends outdoor dining licence fee waiver
The City of London Corporation has agreed to continue issuing pavement licences to “suitable premises” free of charge for a further six months.
Since August 2020, 58 pavement licence applications have been made, 40 of which were granted. However, a number of the six-month licenses initially approved are now set to expire.
“Issuing these free of charge pavement licences will mean the City can once again be enjoyed by all as the weather improves,” Alastair Moss, chair of the City Corporation’s planning committee, said.
Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s licencing committee Sophie Fernandes added: “The hospitality sector has endured very difficult times over the past few months, and we hope the continuation of al fresco dining options will give venues the flexibility they need to fully resume trading as soon as government restrictions are eased.
“The City is home to many treasured cafes, restaurants and pubs and this decision could be what allows them to safely, comfortably and profitably reopen.
“The majority of establishments that wanted to take up the offer to reinstate their pavement licences have been able to do so and it remains vitally important these outdoor dining options are retained wherever it is appropriate.”
Government discusses extended lease forfeiture moratorium
Government Ministers are devising plans to extend the lease forfeiture moratorium beyond the end of March, according to reports by The MA’s sister title BigHospitality.
According to reports in The Times, both the business department and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have been in talks with the property, retail and hospitality sectors over how best to extend the moratorium.
When first announced in March 2020, the moratorium was only intended to be in place for three months.
At present, the measure prevents landlords from repossessing commercial premises where owners are unable to pay rent due to the ongoing pandemic.
However, it is understood that British hospitality businesses will have amassed close to £3bn in unsettled rent as a result of Covid-19 by the time the moratorium expires at the end of March.
According to UKHospitality, 40% of businesses within the sector have not received any rent concessions from landlords.
“There is every chance [the moratorium] will be extended,” Bill Hughes of the Property Industry Alliance told The Times.
“The Government is now distinguishing between leisure and hospitality, which have been hit very hard, and retail, which is more of a mixed bag.”
Hughes suggested that an extended moratorium could potentially differentiate between sectors.
Revived Inns adds Sussex site to portfolio
Tavern Propco Ltd has agreed the letting of the Farm at Friday Street in Eastbourne, East Sussex, to the South East-based operator Revived Inns.
Formed in 2016, Revived Inns operates seven pubs across Kent, Sussex, East Sussex and West Sussex.
The pub was previously operated by multiple operator Whiting and Hammond before being placed into administration.
“We are thrilled with this acquisition and can’t wait to throw the doors open to all its loyal local customers,” Tom Stovold, director at Revived Inns, said.
“The emphasis will be on quality dining based on classic pub staples with some more adventurous offerings.
“We want to maintain the “country inn” atmosphere of the Farm and drinkers in the bar areas will be made to feel very welcome at all times.”
Work will soon be under way to renovate the Farm. New manager Laura Smith said: “I’m looking forward to reviving a well-loved local pub, where you will be able to see some of the old team’s faces as well as new ones.
“We have a new menu and will have some exciting chefs’ specials. Great service is important to me and welcoming guests into our lovely friendly, warm pub.”
Red Oak estate grows to 190 sites with Wells & Co pub package
Red Oak Taverns has acquired its second pub package of 2021 – a group of ten leased and tenanted Wells & Co pubs – to grow its estate to 190 sites
Purchased for an undisclosed sum, the sites are all based in the Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire areas and join the three pubs Red Oak acquired from Reclamation Inns for an undisclosed sum in January.
“We are delighted to secure a further portfolio of quality pubs to join our business,” co-founder and chief Executive of Red Oak, Mark Grunnell said.
“These pubs are a mix of rural destination food venues and community pubs which are a perfect match for our business and we look forward to welcoming the tenants and their teams to Red Oak Taverns”.
“Following this acquisition, we are finalising terms for additional capital of £35m to take advantage of immediate investment opportunities,” Grunnell continued. “The pandemic has in some part slowed our plans but with the additional funding and an established and focused team, we are ready to take our business through the next phase of its evolution.”
Discussing the deal, Wells & Co managing director Peter Wells said the operator was pleased to have found an “excellent custodian” for its pubs.
“We’ve worked closely with the Red Oak team to ensure the handover is as seamless as possible and I’m confident these businesses will thrive under Red Oak,” he said.
“The sale enables us to focus on growing our managed sites both in the UK and France whilst leaving us with a quality portfolio of 170 tenanted pubs.”
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