'Pub will open again' says owner

PUBLISHED: 13:09 27 February 2009 | UPDATED: 21:41 31 May 2010

The Crown at Elsenham

The Crown at Elsenham

A COMPANY that owns the last remaining pub in Elsenham has promised to re-open the premises as soon as possible . The future of the Crown at Elsenham Cross hangs in the balance after the licensees called time on the business they have run since 2006. Lan

A COMPANY that owns the last remaining pub in Elsenham has promised to re-open the premises "as soon as possible".

The future of the Crown at Elsenham Cross hangs in the balance after the licensees called time on the business they have run since 2006.

Landlords Nathan Sewell and Richard Fox closed the pub last Sunday, blaming their departure on rising rent demands and running costs.

Pub owner Punch Taverns said their priority was to have the premises back open for trade in the near future and were "currently recruiting new licensees to ensure that this can happen".

A 'Save the Crown' group on social networking site Facebook already has more than 100 members, including Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate Cllr Peter Wilcock.

"My concern is that these village pubs are so fragile," said Cllr Wilcock. "The rents are astronomical and the poor tenants are struggling to keep their businesses running.

"There is a real danger that when pubs like the Crown close, villages can lose their heart and soul. I'm passionate about keeping these facilities open - they are an integral part of village life."

A spokesman for Punch Taverns said: "It is not in our interests to see our businesses fail; the success of our business depends on the success of all of our pub businesses and we work incredibly hard to ensure that, in partnership, we secure the future of our pubs.

"We make it clear to all potential licensees exactly what the costs of both rent and drinks will be before they sign any agreement. Their business plans, which they research and develop themselves, are based on these figures."

The shutting of the Crown closely follows the closure of Henham's last pub, the Cock, three weeks ago after licensee David Jaques resigned. However, days later the Punch Tavern-owned pub found new tenants and was reopened.

"Pub companies and breweries are making a lot of money out of the property element and sale of the alcohol and it is increasingly difficult for tenants to run a successful business," said Cllr Wilcock.

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