EXCLUSIVE: 'Forced out of business': pub to call last orders
By Simon Hacker | 20th October 2023
A popular Gloucestershire pub that has served customers across three centuries has gone up for sale - and may well become a site for domestic housing.
The Boar's Head, at 14, Lynch Road, Berkeley, has been run for 14 years by landlady Sam Hall, who was born in nearby Charfield.
Despite desperate efforts to keep the pumps working, Sam told Punchline-Gloucester.com she will call last orders imminently and the free house has already been put on the market.
Ms Hall said amid tears: "It's broken my heart. I can't sleep at night for worry about bills. Everything I have done here to build the pub up from what it was to all the things it now offers, it's all come to nothing.
"I despair for the town and my position is not unique. People aren't going out as much as they did because they have their own money worries, so pubs like ours are badly hit. But at the same time we must pay mounting bills: my mortgage went up from £400 a month to £1,300.
"On top of that my energy supplier, despite me paying what it estimated was required, suddenly said I owe £7,000. This they reduced to £4,000 after I negotiated, but along with that I also have Covid bounce-back loans which just can't be met. I'm being effectively forced out and I live in dread, expecting the baillifs to knock."
Ms Hall currently employs two staff, having already made cutbacks.
The challenge now, she adds, is to find a buyer who will take on a pub in the current financial crisis: "While it is for sale, I am also applying for planning permission to convert the site for houses. It may be the only realistic option."
Marketed as a going concern by Dursley agents Bennet Jones with a guide price of £510,000, the Boar's Head has a main bar area with bay windows and wood burner, a rear bar, large pool room and inner hallway which leads to a skittle alley and full commercial kitchen.
In addition to a cellar store, the first-floor owner's accommodation includes a good size kitchen, roof garden, living room, three bedrooms and family bathroom. An interconnecting door leads to two further good sized bedrooms, with potential as letting accommodation. Outside, a beer garden adjoins an extensive car park.
● The website Gloucestershire Pubs reports that the first known landlord of the Boar's Head was Charles Bennet, in 1844. Successive generations of the Bennett family ran the pub until 1889. In September 1924, amid the economic depression a century ago, it was reported locally that the pub had suffered a slump in trade due to a reduction of work at nearby Sharpness Docks.
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