Licensee of the Live and Let Live pub in Harpole, Northampton, Miranda Richardson made the decision to walk away from the business, which is a Stonegate Group tenanted site, in February with the pub’s gas bill alone soaring to more than £7,500.
Have to laugh when people ask why I’m giving up my pub, you know the “village goldmine”— miranda richardson (@thelivelandlady) June 6, 2022
Well hun this quarterly gas bill should answer that question!!!! pic.twitter.com/CiGttNl32v
Richardson said: “I love what I do, I am really good at what I do, but I can't afford to do it. It's not a hobby.
“People aren't coming out because consumers have changed, the pub industry has changed, and you can work with that, but actually, consumer spending has changed.
“I'm a consumer as well as a business owner, there are things I can't afford to do now. You're constantly watching what you've got, what you're spending and using.
“I had people coming out three or four days a week, now they may be only coming out once or twice, and they might [have] used to eat and now they don't when they come out, that's what we're up against.”
Combination of problems
Richardson, who has been licensee of the pub for several years and had connections in the area for more than 30 years, said it became clear what the right decision for her and her family was earlier this year when, on New Year’s Eve, the pub was shut by 9pm due to a lack of footfall.
However, Richardson said she was not alone in her struggles.
She added: “There's a huge combination of errors and a huge combination of problems, but the fact is the entire country is in this position.
“It isn't just hospitality, a fish and chip shop up the road for me [is] closing, I've got a salon round the corner, after 16 years, are closing as they can't afford to stay in business anymore. It's all of us.”
Richardson, whose last day at the helm of the Live and Let Live will come in July, explained making the decision to say goodbye to the pub was heart breaking, not just for her and her family, for her staff and her regulars also, but it was ultimately the right decision as the sector continues to face unsustainable operating costs.
She added: “I love my pub, and I love [the] people.
“I run a great pub, I have a great team of staff, and you are always going to get a friendly welcome.
“Initially you feel like you let everybody down. I look at some of my regulars, who I just adore, when Covid hit and our doors were shut, it was really hard for them.
“[The pub] was their social space, somewhere they came out and they enjoyed and me making [this] decision is really hard, because I don't want to take that away from them.
“But equally, I have to think of me, I have to think about what it was doing to me what it was doing to my family what it was doing to my marriage, you have to think of that bigger picture.
“I was very concerned for my staff, my chefs been with me since the beginning, that's really hard, he has a family of his own.
“But, ultimately, I have to think of me and when you’re not that way inclined, you're not that kind of heartless cutthroat businessperson, that's tough.”