Water supply issues force Surrey pub to close

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Left in the dark: pubs in Surrey forced to close amid water supply issues (Credit: Getty/rustemgurler)
Left in the dark: pubs in Surrey forced to close amid water supply issues (Credit: Getty/rustemgurler)

Related tags Health and safety Government Multi-site pub operators

Pubs in Surrey were left without water on the “busiest day” of the week, potentially costing firms “thousands”, with much of the area still “left in the dark” about when their supply will return, one operator told The Morning Advertiser.

Thames Valley Water declared a major incident in the county over the weekend, leaving some 13,000 residents without water, as reported in The Times. 

Attributed to Storm Ciaran and issues at the Shalford Water Treatment Works, many in the area were left with no or low water pressure.

Brucan Pubs director James Lyon-Shaw told The Morning Advertiser​ one of firms’ sites, the Star in Witley, Godalming, has been without any water supply since the evening of Saturday 4 November, forcing the pub to close and costing the business “thousands”.

He said: “On a Sunday we would usually take around £7,500 net so we've lost all of that.

“This week was one of the busiest weeks on bookings we've had in a while, on Monday we had to turn away about 50 covers for lunch and around the same for dinner.

Lack of communication 

“We lost around £3,000 Monday and it will be about the same Tuesday. It's a huge amount of money not to have. It's not just a profit issue, it's a cash flow issue.

“At the end of the month we're probably looking at between £15,000 to £20,000 worth of money not going into the account that's still going to go out for wages etc, it's a bit of a worry.”

Lyon-Shaw added the communication from Thames Valley had been “poor”, claiming much of the village had been left “in the dark” as to when their water supply will return.

“We've had no contact from any anyone. We're still in the dark, half of the village have got water back and half haven't.

“First and foremost, there should have been better communication. They obviously knew about this issue long before it became an issue and should have put a warning out to the area to preserve water.

“Then we could have been proactive. We could have stopped taking bookings or directed the bookings to our other pubs, there’s just a total lack of communication”, he continued.

Bounce back

Moreover, the director claimed it was “nonsense” that the water company had blamed the recent storms for the issue, adding the area was not really affected by the bad weather.

In addition, Brucan urged the Government and water company to issue “compensation” to those affected and the “loss of earnings” incurred.

He said: “I know of eight pubs in our area that all lost trade yesterday (Sunday 5 November), on the busiest trading day of the week.

“It’s not a great time for hospitality at the moment and the Stars is a new business, we've only been trading for just over a year.

“Summer wasn't quite as good as it could have been and the September/October period is always a little bit quiet anyway, which we expect, but we also expect to bounce back in November/December.

“There's never a good time for anything like this, but when your business is already on its knees, this as well doesn't help.”


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