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Greene King Pubs In Trouble

Friday, April 19, 2013

Four Greene King Tied Pubs In Derbyshire And Nottinghamshire In Difficulty Due To Unaffordable Rents With Action On One Pending In Derby County Court

For tied pubs in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire statutory regulation for the pub industry on unaffordable rents cannot come soon enough says GMB.

Redress is being sought in Derby County Court over alleged breaches of the Insolvency Act by pubco Greene King.

This action has come to light as GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, probes the activities of Greene King in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire area.

GMB plans to write again to Greene King Managing Director  Simon Longbottom drawing his attention to problems for Greene King tied tenants at The Grouse Inn, Darley Dale, the Railway in Matlock,  The Gardiners at Cossall and the White Hart in Lenton, Nottingham.

The Government are undergoing a consultation process regarding the planned implementation of statutory regulation for the Pub industry. This regulation may include a “free of tie option” to deal with unaffordable rents. GMB has been instrumental in forcing Government to take this action.

Dave Mountford, GMB Branch Secretary, said “Five Greene King pubs in the area are in trouble and the tenants cannot make a living.

GMB first wrote to Greene King boss Simon Longbottom in January and 4 months later nothing has been done. 

In February this same Simon Longbottom stated that he felt self- regulation had been given "not long enough to succeed"

Thankfully the Government has disagreed with Mr Longbottom.

The case of Tom Meehan from The Grouse Inn, Darley Dale will be the subject of action at Derby County Court.

Tom told me that he was coerced by Greene King to take on £11,759 debt despite the fact that the debt in question was written off as part of insolvency that happened two years before.

This £11,759 owing to Greene King arose at the Railway in Matlock where Tom and his father Tom Senior faced bankruptcy with debt to the amounting to
£75,000 after 5 years of trading.

Before the bankruptcy proceedings Tom was asked by Greene King to take on another pub close by, The Grouse at Darley Dale and seeing little option from 2011 he ran the Grouse on a Tenancy at Will.

Six months after he left the Railway both Tom and his father were declared bankrupt at Derby and Nottingham Court. Part of the bankruptcy figure was the £11,759 owed to Greene King which was written off.

Following the insolvency Tom met with Greene King who told him his license would have to be transferred to his wife as he was unable to continue to trade being insolvent.

Tom was told that this transfer would only be sanctioned by Greene King only if his wife agreed to repay the £11,759 that was owing from the Railway, despite this amount already being written off as part of both the Meehan’s bankruptcy arrangement. Tom was given 30 minutes to make up his mind otherwise face eviction from the pub along with his wife. This is coercion.

The £11,759 was paid off over nearly year by Mrs Meehan at £300 per week.

The Meehan’s who have struggled to maintain any sort of living from the business, despite it being a busy and vibrant pub have notified Greene King as to their intention to leave when their lease expires in October 2013.

This however is not the only case of failed business model in this area of Derbyshire.

A second case is Paul Attewel who took on the Railway Inn at Matlock following the departure of the Meehans in 2010 – last weekend Paul entered into receivership as a business closing The Railway.

Two other Greene King pubs, The Gardners at Cossall in Nottingham and the White Hart in Lenton, Nottingham are also in trouble.

For tied pubs in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire planned implementation of statutory regulation for the pub industry to deal with unaffordable rents cannot come soon enough”.


Contact: Dave Mountford 07794 021 212 or 01629 258 083 or GMB Press Office 07921 289880

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