Another pub bites the dust amid tough trading times

Bob Culverwell at the Masons Arms. Rennington
Bob Culverwell at the Masons Arms. Rennington

Another north Northumberland pub has been forced to close, with the landlords citing weather, economy and the bank as the key factors.

Alison and Bob Culverwell have had the Masons Arms at Stamford Cott, Rennington, for the past nine years, but they have reached the end of the road and had to close.

In a letter to last week’s Gazette, the couple blamed ‘the weather, economy and, in particular, the bank’, which ‘have made it untenable to continue’.

“We have worked extremely hard over the past nine years, but like so many businesses the past couple of years have been tough,” they said.

“The sad irony is that the day prior to us coming to the conclusion that we could not carry on we found out that we had won a Trip Advisor certificate of excellence.”

The Culverwells added that the decision to shut was made ‘with a huge amount of regret and indeed heartbreak that they have found it necessary’ and paid tribute to family, friends, staff and all those who supported the pub.

It comes not long after the closure of two pubs in Alnwick while another is up for sale.

As reported in the Gazette, The Queen’s Head, on Market Street, closed its doors on June 1 because of rising costs, while Ye Olde Cross, better known as the Dirty Bottles, on Narrowgate, has also been shut for a number of weeks.

On its Facebook page, the landlords of the Queen’s said it was a ‘sad day’, but that the reason they were closing was due to a ‘money-grabbing pub company charging exorbitant prices for its beer and drinks which were far higher than the company actually paid the breweries’.

The Oddfellows Arms, on Narrowgate, remains open at the moment, but it too is up for sale.

In April, the Government announced plans for a new code of practice and the backing of a ‘powerful’ adjudicator after complaints about a so-called beer tie under which landlords have to buy supplies from the companies which own pubs and which has been partly blamed for pub closures.