Soaring costs force licensees to quit pub

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Talks fail: the licensees of a Hampshire pub have been forced to quit over surging costs (credit: Getty/mauro_grigollo)
Talks fail: the licensees of a Hampshire pub have been forced to quit over surging costs (credit: Getty/mauro_grigollo)

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The operators of Hampshire pub the White Horse Inn have said an emotional farewell after failing to negotiate terms with pubco Admiral Taverns to keep the pub open.

Operators Shekhar and Alex Nailwal expressed their sadness and the struggles faced on a post on Facebook while Admiral Taverns has begun the search for new tenants at the site through its website.

The post read: “We were trying to convince the brewery to reduce the rent and tie as the business is suffering with higher fixed costs and we, as a small family-run business, can’t sustain it as the sales have been affected due to the inflation and rising energy [prices have] almost doubled in costs.

“All my efforts to cut a deal to survive was the goal so we [could get through] this recession but it has failed and I have no other option but to give my notice.”

Crippling recession

The message continued: “We have been trying our best to keep the business afloat for the past two years and, with the help of our regular customers, we did manage to come out of the pandemic but we have no answer to this crippling recession.

“We will be trying our best to keep the doors open till the end of September and then I have to lay us off and the staff of The White Horse. It’s heart-breaking.”

Meanwhile, the pub has been placed on Admiral Taverns’ website as a tenancy let with an annual rent of £27,108 plus an investment of £12,000 to cover a deposit, working capital and stock.

Wealthy homeowners

The website said of the Hampshire venue: “It has the ambience of a traditional country inn, with real ales and small beer garden/patio but currently caters for Indian food with some fusion twists. Droxford is a small village in the South Downs National Park. It is a very pretty village and has a high proportion of wealthy homeowners in the village and surrounding area.”

The Nailwals have been inundated with messages of support after their announcement. One person said: “Absolutely gutted. So disappointed and so sad for you as a family. You have achieved miracles and we are so proud of what you have made, we have introduced so many friends to the wonders of the White Horse.”

Another stated: “Such a shame. Lovely staff, smashing landlord and landlady. Food is always amazing, atmosphere is lovely and I can’t say I am not a little heartbroken. We love it there. Another great business suffers from large business greed.”

A spokesperson from Admiral Taverns said: ​“We have 1,600 pubs across the country, and we work hard to work in partnership with all our licensees. However, the licensee has taken the decision to leave and we are in the process of looking for a new licensee to take on the pub, and ensure the White Horse has a long-term, sustainable future.”

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