Local News

Andover publicans harmed by ‘pointless’ legislation

Dave Mountford Pub Defender Andover

The government’s consultation on the Pubs Code ends tomorrow Sunday (5th September), but its very existence is a ‘façade’.

The leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Cllr Phil North, has offered his support to attend a presentation from The Forum of British Pubs co-founder Dave Mountford in Andover this coming Tuesday (7th September 2021).

The presentation from Mr Mountford is to expose the ‘unfair, meaningless and pointless’ Pubs Code and publicly explain the way pub tenants are being treated unfairly by their PubCo landlords.

Tens of thousands of pubs are at risk of losing their identity, sense of ownership and customers. Local dignitaries, national and local media and drinkers at the local community pub are invited to join the open presentation this Tuesday evening.

Mr Mountford says, “The Pub Code is a disaster.  It was designed to protect pub tenants but is simply not fit for purpose; it only allows the big six PubCos, or Pub Owning Businesses (POBs), from continuing to exert their nefarious influence over our hard-working local publicans.”.

The Code should ensure that pub tenants should be ‘no worse off’ than if they were ‘free-of-tie’; meaning publicans can buy products at market-competitive prices. 

Half of all UK pubs are owned by POBs or breweries.

Stonegate Group which owns the Queen Charlotte also owns The Station Inn, the Lardi Cake, The Swallow and others in Andover. Greene King own The Angel and The Folly.

The Pub Code suggests that 11,000 publicans in the UK should have an arrangement to go ‘free of tie’, but the Pubs Code only supports the large companies like Stonegate Group – a Cayman Islands registered company – that sells tenants products at a massively inflated price.

The Forum believes that the Pubs Code fails to achieve its guiding principles:

  • To ensure pub tenants are no worse-off than being ‘free-of-tie’, and
  • To stop pub owning businesses from engaging in unethical practices.

PubCos are also able to impose substantially increased rents.

The Queen Charlotte Inn in Andover is one of the latest to fall foul of the unethical practices of Pubco Stonegate Group. They wish to turn the community pub into a ‘sports venue’.

Stonegate Group who have had designers, ‘property managers’ and area Business Development Managers arranging an increase in rent to have the local pub turned into a ‘sports venue’ have flatly denied such plans in writing to Cllr Phil North.

They have also refused an invitation to the evening. Stonegate Group Divisional Director Dan Castle told us, “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to attend Dave Mountfords (sic) presentation on the pubs code and PCA at the Queen Charlotte, unfortunately on this occasion we will not be attending”

“Stonegate are forcing a 58% increase in rent on us”, says Queen Charlotte landlady Victoria Harber.  “Coupled with the premium at which I have to buy beers and wines, this forces us out in November.  Despite providing my thoughts to the Pubs Code consultation, I neither feel it will be taken into account, nor will it make a blind bit of difference.”

Dave Mountford will make his presentation in front of media and political leaders from Hampshire.  “The legislation is full of flaws”, adds Mr Mountford. “This consultation is pointless and the issues we have highlighted to Government that need changing have been ignored.

“The whole process is meaningless to anyone but those big six pub companies who benefit from its enshrinement in legislation.  The event in Andover will show that the Pubs Code – designed to protect tenants – has created more problems for tenants and failed to deal with the numerous issues that prompted its creation”.

The event will be ‘streamed live’ on Facebook across various pub supporting organisations’ social media platforms.