A LANDLORD has spoken out after a pub he was running was forced to close.

Jamie Howell, who ran the Herdwick Inn in Penruddock, said his tenancy at the inn as arranged by pub group Admiral Taverns, was clouded in 'miscommunication, unfulfilled promises, and disappointment'.

Jamie said it began last year in July, when an area manager from Admiral Taverns contacted him.

He explained: “I am a restaurateur, and was looking for a place with rooms.

“I used to own a famous seafood restaurant in Newcastle called The Fisherman’s Lodge, but closed it in 2013 due to the difficulties of running the place and the overheads.

“When I signed up to run this pub, they gave me a five year tenancy on the back of a refurbishment.

“The first thing you see when you look at the pub is that it is in need of refurbishment.

“The idea was for them to recover the refurbishment costs through the rent.

“They said I would be a part of that process and there would be a period of time leading up to that refurbishment set for March 2023, where I would just be keeping the pub going, and that my input was going to be important.”

Jamie said this was not written down, but was a verbal agreement.

“I tried to get things written up but it was very hard, they just wanted me to sign on the dotted line,” he said.

Jamie added: “I called him up afterwards and said I was nervous, he reassured me the refurbishment will go ahead, and I moved in.”

There were big maintenance issues, as Jamie explained: “Part of the arrangement was they were going to send over a maintenance team.

“This place was filthy, grass was growing out the gutters, inside was dirty, there were things wrong all over the place.

“The maintenance team didn't materialise until two months in after a lot of pressing, they just couldn't be bothered.

“People were telling me they didn't know we opened. There were enormous leaks when it rained it would pour through the property, it was unsafe for us and off-putting for customers.

“They were also steaming up my bar bill, they had a three barrel rule so if I was down one keg, I had to order three, so my bar bill went from £800 to several thousands.

“We weren’t doing enough business to sell that much beer so their simple view was it wasn’t viable.

“Admiral is all about selling beer, but this pub has always been a travellers' inn, so these sales reps understanding of the business is just that, they don't seem to understand the seasonal nature."

The inn was closed in March this year.

In response, a spokesperson from Admiral Taverns said: "At Admiral we oversee more than 1,500 pubs across England, Scotland and Wales and take great pride in helping our licensees run sustainable businesses. 

"We always offer our licensees the best support we can but inevitably there are instances where we have to part ways with a licensee."