Rawtenstall: Landlord leaving pub after 16 years

A landlord from East Lancashire says his life “has been torn apart” after being “forced to leave” his pub after 16 years.

Brent Taylor, who manages the White Lion Hotel in Rawtenstall, says Stonegate Pub Partnership haven’t allowed him to renew his lease on the pub and he will have to vacate the premises in September.

Brent, 63, said: “I was coming to the end of my lease this year and I thought there would be some form of negotiation regarding the rent and various other prices – but Stonegate just said we have come to the end of the lease and they aren’t renewing it.

“They basically said I have to get out of here by mid-September.”

Brent Taylor

Brent says he is “angry and upset” at Stonegate for asking him to leave.

He said: “I am feeling so upset and angry – it’s just not nice is it?

“I’ve put so much into this business, redecorating in lockdown, building a new beer garden and creating a community atmosphere.

“I have worked hard and I am so proud of what I have done. Customers who come in always comment on what a lovely pub it is. ”

After his wife died of coronavirus in 2020, Brent says he is reluctant and sad to leave the pub which holds “many happy memories” of their relationship.

He said: “My wife died less than two years ago because of Covid and I have been left on my own since then.

“It’s been my home for 16 years and filled with lots of memories. I lived here with my wife and she’s gone now.

“Now I am on my own and I just don’t know what will happen in the future.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Ann and Brent TaylorAnn and Brent Taylor

In order to lower his drink prices, Brent said he opted out of the Landlord and Tenants Act of 1954, which meant there was no guarantee they would renew their lease at the end of the term.

The act governs the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants of premises which are occupied for business purposes.

In broad scope, the tenant of premises from which a business is carried on has security of tenure when the agreed term of his lease comes to an end.

Brent said: “We were struggling financially and the only way we could put our beer prices down is to opt of out the Landlord and Tenants Act of 1954, which meant there was no guarantee they would renew our lease at the end of the term.

“It’s an historical pub and we couldn’t manage on the costs and business rates – I was struggling to pay my VAT bills.

“The prices we have now, I can manage. Under the current terms and conditions I was happy to push forward and stay on. ”

Brent said his regular customers are “up in arms” about the brewery’s decision and are nervous about the future of their local.

“The customers are also my friends and they are up in arms about it,” Brent said. “They are talking about starting petitions and contacting MPs. I have received hundreds of messages of support from them. ”

Brent says he is going to try and fight the decision but isn’t confident about where he will be come September.

In the meantime, he will be on the hunt for other accomodation and trade until he can retire in two years’ time.

He said: “I am going to try and fight this. I keep trying to get in touch with Stonegate them but haven’t heard a lot back.

“It’s like talking to a brick wall and it seems like they just want me out.”

Stonegate Pub Partnership has been approached for comment.

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