Criminals force pub to call time
Dominic Bareham A PUB landlord says he has been driven away from his prominent Gorleston pub by criminals and the economic downturn.For 50 years, the Cap & Gown has welcomed thirsty punters through its doors in Magdalen Way.
A PUB landlord says he has been driven away from his prominent Gorleston pub by criminals and the economic downturn.
For 50 years, the Cap & Gown has welcomed thirsty punters through its doors in Magdalen Way. But from October 5, the well-known boozer will close, adding to a long list of popular pubs in the Yarmouth borough that have shut due to the recession and the effects of the smoking ban and a hike in alcohol tax.
Landlord Steve Andrews, 51, said a number of factors had contributed to his decision to pull out, not least a catalogue of crimes suffered by the pub over the last seven years, including thefts, robberies and vandalism. On one terrifying occasion, robbers slammed a door in the face of manager Paul Mitchell and held him up while ransacking the premises.
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Mr Andrews, who rented the pub from owner Enterprise Inns, said it had suffered further break-ins during the last two or three years and had been a constant target for vandals who had smashed windows and sprayed graffiti on its walls.
He added: “It is a selection of problems that have hit us and the fact that profits are low and utilities bills are increasing has made it just not economically viable to run the pub.”
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But the recession had also played a part as trade had dropped by a third
in the last year. The smoking ban
had also driven punters away and many customers were opting to buy cheaper booze from supermarkets.
Labour county councillor Colleen Walker, who used to live on the Magdalen estate, spoke of how the pub had been a hub of the community, holding functions for the popular annual Mad Mag festival as well as other fundraising events. Its name reflects the university theme of street names on the estate, which are named after prominent colleges.
But Mrs Walker felt its prominent location close to a recreation area at Magdalen Square made it a target for vandals. Mrs Walker said: “The pub is going to be a loss to the community. I think the smoking ban and the increasing price of alcohol have made a difference. It is a shame because I always regarded manager Paul Mitchell as part of the solution to anti-social behaviour.”
A number of local pubs have closed over the last year including the Mitre in George Street, and the Elephant and Castle in Nelson Road North, both in Great Yarmouth. Most recently, the White Horse pub in Beccles Road, Gorleston closed down in July after landlady Jacqueline Ellis said the pub was making a loss as a result of the economic downturn, the smoking ban and rising rents.
A spokesman for Enterprise Inns said: “This pub is a vital element of its community and we are doing everything we can to keep this community essential site open.”