Popular bar could be closing

THE threatened closure of a historic pub that is seen as a ‘community hub’ has sparked outrage among loyal punters.

The landlords of the Duke of Wellington, in Thetford Road, Brandon, have admitted that the pub’s future is in doubt after owners Greene King called time on their tenancy – due to end in July.

The uncertainty has led to more than 500 customers signing a petition asking for the pub to be kept open.

John Riding, a regular at the pub since 1978, presented the petition to Brandon Town Council on Monday night. He said the pub was a popular community meeting place and there was no good reason for closing it.

“The pub is very well run and is always busy.

“Greene King have put a cat among the pigeons by threatening to close it but we don’t quite know why,” he said.

Mr Riding approached the council to ask that if a planning application is put in to convert the pub into housing, it would not back the proposal.

Cllr Geoff Hughes, town council chairman, said that although they could not sign the petition, they would look at the pub’s position.

Fears over a restrictive covenant being placed on the building – so it can no longer be used as a pub – are also shared by landlord Steve Healy and wife Michelle, who runs the pub.

Mr Healy took over the tenancy with father Kevin last June on a 12 month agreement.

He asked Greene King for investment in the pub earlier this year, but was told that the company was ‘looking at other options’.

He said: “From where we stand the pub is doing okay and we would like to carry on.

“Turning the pub into housing is one of the things that has been mentioned, but to be honest we are just as much in the dark as anybody else.”

Mr Healy added that he and his father would meet with Greene King soon to discuss the pub’s future.

Mrs Healy said the closure would push scores of local people out of a pub they have gone to for years.

Greene King said it was unable to comment on the pub’s future.

The pub giants also owns the nearby Five Bells, on Market Hill.

The Flintknappers, also in Market Hill, is already boarded up after it closed earlier this year.