Search

Village pub ‘too new’ for £25,000 Government grant may never re-open

PUBLISHED: 17:12 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:16 09 April 2020

A new lease of life for The Jolly Farmers may be in jeapardy after the new landlord was told he did not qualify for the Government's £25,000 aimed at helping business to survive the coronavirus lockdown Picture: Liz Coates

A new lease of life for The Jolly Farmers may be in jeapardy after the new landlord was told he did not qualify for the Government's £25,000 aimed at helping business to survive the coronavirus lockdown Picture: Liz Coates

Archant

The new landlord of a village pub fears he may narrowly miss out on a £25,000 government support payment and be forced to walk away.

Paul James and his business partner James Bretnall Bennett took over at the Jolly Farmers in Ormesby St Margaret on March 11.

They immediately set about making improvements and opened to the public on March 13.

Having traded for a week they were forced to shut along with theatres, cinemas and restaurants to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Despite the blow, Mr James was confident of receiving a £25,000 government hospitality grant aimed at providing a lifeline for businesses like his.

The Jolly Farmers in Ormesby St Margaret has been putting up support posters in their windows. The winner will receive a £50 food voucher when - and if - the pub re-opens. The new landlord has been told the business was too new to qualify for a £25,000 lifeline Government grant Picture: Liz CoatesThe Jolly Farmers in Ormesby St Margaret has been putting up support posters in their windows. The winner will receive a £50 food voucher when - and if - the pub re-opens. The new landlord has been told the business was too new to qualify for a £25,000 lifeline Government grant Picture: Liz Coates

However Great Yarmouth Borough Council, which is processing the awards, said he may not qualify because he was not trading on March 11 - the threshold date set by the government.

Mr James said: “We have been told today by Great Yarmouth Borough Council that the deadline for the grant money was March 11, the day we took over and that if we were not in operation the grant was not available.

“If that happens there is a good chance of it closing down and never re-opening.

You may also want to watch:

“They say they cannot bend the rules but they do not need bending. We were in and had the keys on March 11.

“I am still holding out hope that common sense will prevail.

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “This is a government relief fund, being administered by local authorities.

“The government put in place strict eligibility criteria and so not all businesses are eligible.

The Jolly Farmers in Ormesby St Margaret has been putting up support posters in their windows. The winner will receive a £50 food voucher when - and if - the pub re-opens. The new landlord has been told the business was too new to qualify for a £25,000 lifeline Government grant Picture: Liz CoatesThe Jolly Farmers in Ormesby St Margaret has been putting up support posters in their windows. The winner will receive a £50 food voucher when - and if - the pub re-opens. The new landlord has been told the business was too new to qualify for a £25,000 lifeline Government grant Picture: Liz Coates

“One requirement to receive relief funds is that the businesses must have been on the council’s records as the business ratepayer for that premises on the date of March 11, 2020.

“Unfortunately, this means that the newest business ventures might not be eligible.

“Even when a business does not qualify for a grant, however, they may be able to receive other support and can get in touch for signposting.”

In the meantime the pub’s windows are full of colourful artwork made by local children to support the NHS.

Mr James is planning to launch a roast delivery service at the weekend in partnership with the Kings Head in Acle.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Related articles

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury