‘We’ve been stitched up.’
That’s the claim from a Chorley landlord who says he’s been forced to walk away from his business due to a hike in rent and mounting costs.
Paul and Wendy Rogers, who have run The Railway @ Euxton for five years, e-mailed their customers last week to tell them they had closed the pub on New Year’s Day as they could no longer continue to trade.
The pair, who have more than 20 years experience in the industry, said that Marston’s - who own the building - had made it impossible for them to continue after increasing their rent by 20 per cent and opening two large chain pubs within a two mile radius.
However, the brewery has now found new tenants for the pub and it re-opened on Friday.
Paul said: “It was our choice to close as we don’t want to compromise on the quality of the food we sell, but at the same time the costs have soared.
“In the five years that we have been running the pub, Marston’s have put up our rent up by 20 per cent to £50,000 a year, but during that same trading period the market conditions have changed completely.
“The rise in costs have made it impossible for us to continue and so we had to close the doors for the final time on New Year’s Day.”
Paul, who employed 14 staff at the Wigan Road gastro pub, said he had a 25 year lease on the property and that he was ‘incredibly sad’ about the decision.
He added: “We have thoroughly enjoyed our time at The Railway and we have got to know thousands of people during our time here.
“People tend to think it’s a very easy trade to get in to, but behind the scenes it is a lot of hard work with very little return.
“We feel like we have been stitched up by Marston’s as they have continued to put up our rent and at the same time opened two pub chains right on our doorstep.
“We did’t serve the same kind of food as they do, but it’s fast, convenient and cheap and we’ve had no support from them despite being the longest serving tenants at The Railway since the 1980s.
“We didn’t have freezers or microwaves at the restaurant and made everything fresh on site using genuine local products and we were highly recommended by the Lancashire Tourist Board, but we got to the point where we were doing something for no gain - just to employ people and support our suppliers.”
He added: “We have put up a notice on our website and emailed our customers to say goodbye and thank them for their loyal custom.
“We have received hundreds of replies of sadness and even had an e-mail from as far as Eastern Europe.
“We are sad about the decision, but we haven’t given up hope and I’ll continue to run hotels and restaurants.”
A Marston’s spokesperson said: “The pub has had a little bit of work done but has now re-opened with new tenants.
“Over the past twelve months Marston’s has supported the previous tenants Paul and Wendy. “Unfortunately we have had to part company due to the terms of the lease not being met.”