Last orders called at Letchworth pub

LAST orders were called at a community’s only pub at the weekend.

The Pelican in Letchworth GC closed its doors for the final time on Sunday due to a decline in sales, with speculation that a Tesco Express could open in its place.

The public house served its first pint in the 1960s but its closure by owners Greene King means there is now no pub on the Grange Estate, with the Two Chimneys and the Three Horseshoes both situated on the outskirts.

Regarding the decision to shut The Pelican and the possibility of a Tesco Express moving in, a spokesman for Greene King said: “Due to a decline in sales the pub has become unviable. It will remain closed whilst we review our estate and the future of The Pelican. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience this may cause. At this stage we are unable to confirm future plans for the pub.”

Simon Jellis, who managed the pub in Middlefields with his wife Emma for two and a half years, told The Comet: “Obviously there’s disappointment - it’s a nice local pub but it’s another to go by the wayside.

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“We don’t know the reason why they’re actually shutting it. There would be busy nights and quiet nights but we had a good loyal base of regulars. I’d like to thank all our regulars and all the local people that have supported us, hopefully we will still remain in touch.”

Mr Jellis said the reputation of the pub following a police drugs raid prior to taking over, the lack of passing trade and the recession had made trading difficult but was adamant it should remain as a pub.

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“I think there is still a need for a pub - we’ve got the Grange Community Centre across the road but I think it’s needed as an alternative,” he said.

“We don’t know if it’ll be a Tesco but if it does open as a Tesco I don’t think it would go down very well.”

Currently the Grange Estate is served by shops at The Parade in Southfields, which include a Nisa convenience store, a Martin’s newsagents and Grange Wine Store.

Cllr David Kearns, who represents the Letchworth Grange ward for North Hertfordshire District Council, said he was “sad to see it go”, adding: “We’ve already got a supermarket on the estate and you wouldn’t think both of them could survive. You would assume that Tesco being the bigger name could cause problems.”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We are always on the look out for possible new sites all over the country and are often in negotiations for suitable schemes for Express stores, however these often never materialise. Until an agreement is reached or an application made we would not comment on individual cases.”

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