Written evidence submitted by Pete Leary |
The Loggerheads Pub was the last remaining Public
House and Inn in what was known as Narrowmarsh, (now called Cliff
Road) an area immediately South of the Lacemarket in Nottingham's
City Centre. It was said to be the 4th oldest surviving pub in
Nottingham and dated back to around 1640. For centuries, this
was a notorious area and historically dates back to the 9th century.
The pub itself was once at the heart of Narrow Marsh and was frequented
by Dick Turpin in 18th century. Today, although not a pub, the
building is the only surviving remnant from the area and its fascinating
but unmasked past. This history is close to extinction but should
and still could play a major role in education, tourism, entertainment
and economic growth for Nottingham and the wider community.
In December 2005, I signed a lease assignment with
Enterprise Inns and paid £40,000 for the remaining six and
a half years of a 10 year lease on The Loggerheads Pub. Prior
to this, Enterprise arranged for me to have only one meeting with
a regional manager in order to establish what my intentions were
and to agree the monthly rent. When I questioned why the rent
was going to be higher than advertised on the sales particulars,
I was told that VAT had been applied, so I checked the calculation
and signed an "agreement in principal". Only when I
had signed for the lease and taken keys for the property did I
receive an invoice for the initial rent payment which showed that
the rate agreed, was in fact exclusive of VAT. This was to be
the start of a great "partnership"! I believe that was
the word that the regional manager used.
Within months of me taking on the lease, a major
redevelopment commenced on my doorstep; the building of the Nottingham
Contemporary Art Gallery, which completely cut off about 80% of
my passing trade due to the closure of a pedestrian Right of Way
between the City Centre and our location. On approaching Enterprise
for some help in dealing with the City of Nottingham Council,
the Planning Department, the Highways Authority etc. my area Manager
didn't even want to hear about it, said it was my problem; some
partnership!!!. The closure of this Right of Way lasted for two
years and when I approached the Council I was told that compensation
was "out of the Question".
The whole ludicrous fiasco cost me, my friends and
family £150,000, wasted years of my life, left me homeless,
unemployed and penniless. It also meant the loss of one full time
and 2/3 part-time jobs for local people in the community.
So, to get to the point about pubcos and the tied
agreement, here are the basic terms:
a premium to take full responsibility of a building belonging
to a pubco.
for all maintenance and repairs other than structural (ie boiler
replacements, central heating replacement, rewiring, PAT testing,
fire alarm systems, emergency lighting systems, external lighting,
fire doors, fire closers, re-glazing, re-roofing, tree pruning,
garden maintenance, drain clearing, etc), but if they are structural,
expect the pubco to send a surveyor out to argue that the structural
fault has occurred as a result of poor maintenance on the leaseholder's
behalf. The so called "partnership" suddenly becomes
a "Buyer Beware Partnership". I lost the use of two
out of five letting bedrooms because Enterprise refused to fix
the leaking roof.
rent without a fair platform to negotiate. (ie not related to
any other open market contracts with product ties).
an annual increase in rent regardless of sales. (Initially undisclosed
at the start of the agreement).
for all upgrades to the property with regards to local and National
authority regulations. (Fire, electrics, gas, licensing, environmental
health, noise prevention/double glazing, public liability, disabled
for redecoration of the property both internally and externally
every three years.
for insurance of the building at an extortionate rate through
for separate building insurance independent from above (as part
of the agreement).
for cellar maintenance.
for additional security surrounding the premises.
for products from pubco at extortionate prices under the terms
of the agreement.
extra for these products as they increase with little warning
and without relation to any other pricing.
for private delivery services if products are not delivered. Enterprise
will not deliver unless you have paid up front"Partnership".
extortionate prices for the use of gaming machines within the
for damaged sound equipment due to water ingress from a structural
issue and suffer the loss of revenue from music nights for three
months waiting for Enterprise to carry out the repair, only to
then have to fix it myself due to the total incompetence of their
for fines incurred when accused of buying out.
for bailiffs fees when threatened with non-payment of invoices
because you have no passing trade and you can't let your bedrooms.
for interests and repayments due as a result of borrowing money.
for solicitors to avoid prosecution or legal proceedings and....................
If you're not bankrupt and have not emptied the pockets
of all of your family by this point to avoid legal proceedings,
for the remaining term of the lease (including fees, interests,
taxes and expenses).
Although my story is my side of one encounter with
a pubco, I wish to express my concern for the problem for pubs
In the Licensing Act 2003, four licensing objectives
were set out:
prevention of crime and disorder,
of public nuisance, and
protection of children from harm.
Since then, the responsibility of fulfilling these
licensing objectives has been put solely on to licensees and it
is extremely difficult to achieve this with so many outgoings
from a small business.
If the government want to see pubs succeed whilst
adhering to the objectives then they need to make small businesses
more aware of the costs involved in the mandatory requirements
of local authorities.
More so, they need to abolish the tie so that there
is a clear understanding of the rent and rates. The tie model
has catastrophically failed and is no longer sustainable or redeemable.
In conclusion, I feel that I was mislead from the
start with Enterprise and mistreated throughout! In particular,
they did not adhere to their own contractual obligations with
regard to the structure of the building and ignorantly continued
to threaten and charge me regardless. For this reason, I previously
wished to make a claim against them but can not afford to do so.
I hope that in the future there will be more support for individuals
and small businesses who are bullied by the likes of Enterprise.
Pubcos should have a built-in understanding of their
industry and should be able to adapt and support their employees
and tenants as they all play a vital role in the cultural and
social content of Great Britain. Real Estate Investment Trusts
who aim to clear debt by bankrupting small businesses and families
need to be a thing of the past.
Make way for the pub revolution, let the new pubcos
support the industry and local production and help discourage
the supermarket's anti-social hangover.
Make way for the pub revolution!
Ban the tie! Ban the tie! Ban the tie!