Axed Hitchin landlord hits out at ‘total lack of investment’

Hitchin pub stands empty with question mark over its future

Hitchin pub stands empty with question mark over its future - Credit: Archant

A pub landlord says he has been forced to sign on the dole after he was evicted from the pub he ran due to rent arrears.

Hitchin pub stands empty with question mark over its future

Hitchin pub stands empty with question mark over its future - Credit: Archant

Ron Piper, licensee of the Sir John Barleycorn in Hitchin, has been evicted by the giant Punch Taverns group which owns the Oughtonhead Way pub.

The 56-year-old, along with his daughter and granddaughter, were evicted after the pub company would not give him a waiver on his debt.

Mr Piper said: “Punch claim to be ‘passionate about pubs’ and yet chairman Stephen Billingham has said there is no point getting ‘over-emotional’ about them. I’m sorry but it is an emotional issue when people lose their livelihood and homes. Pubs are people’s homes and are a part of a community.”

Mr Piper had attended court in June and had succeeded in getting his debt reduced, but was told by Punch Taverns that his tenancy agreement would not be renewed.


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He said it cost him £1.96 including VAT to buy a pint from Punch Taverns while pub chain JD Wetherspoon sell it for between £1.80-£1.99 to the public.

Mr Piper, who was featured in a report on the worrying state of the pub industry in the Sun newspaper this week, added: “On top of the beer price and the rent, you have to pay insurance.

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“But when something goes wrong in the pub, like a leak in the roof, Punch does nothing and you are left on your own.

“There has been a total lack of investment in the pub. I feel sorry for the community and Hitchin.

“I have no idea what will happen to the pub but if it does reopen as pub I’d be pleased for the community.”

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