Popular St Albans pub closes doors early

The Camp public house in Camp Road closed yesterday (Thursday, May 14), two days earlier than expect

The Camp public house in Camp Road closed yesterday (Thursday, May 14), two days earlier than expected - Credit: Archant

A city pub has called last orders for good two days earlier than expected due to an attempted arson attack.

The Camp in Camp Road, St Albans was due to shut its doors to punters tomorrow (Saturday, May 16) after its owners, McMullens & Sons, announced the site has been sold to developer Howarth Homes.

However, despite a sign displayed behind the bar citing its last day of trade as May 16, a decision was made to close yesterday (Thursday,May 14).

A spokeswoman for Herts Police confirmed there was an attempted arson attack on an employee’s car on March 20.

A spokesman for McMullens & Sons confirmed the earlier closure was due to fear of threat to the property since the announcement was made at the end of March and ensuring staff safety.

The pub has been run by Hertford-based McMullens & Sons since before 1905.

Managing director, Peter Furness-Smith, previously said: “We have decided to accept the offer for The Camp as the number of customers using the pub has continued to decline despite the pub being extremely well operated following a significant investment in 2013.

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He added that beer sales had declined by over 80% since their peak.

He went on: “We are reluctant sellers of pubs, particularly those that we have owned and invested in for many years.

“However the real prospect of further central and local government restrictions on pub owners mean we might miss this very good opportunity to fund further investments into some of our other pubs in good locations.”

Kevin Lea, CAMRA’S South Herts press officer, said: “CAMRA are once again saddened to hear the news of yet another McMullen pub closure and sale in St Albans – this is the second this year – following the Blue Anchor.

“It seems to represent an abandonment of St Albans with only The Peahen remaining in its ownership in the city. McMullens have sold almost a dozen pubs to property developers in the last year or so and Hertfordshire is mainly the net loser – new acquisitions by the company have largely been in London or elsewhere in the Home Counties.

He added: “Whilst we accept that the company will continually be re-shaping its tied estate, the acceleration in this activity and the recent nature of it is of concern.”

He criticised the company’s “direct-dealing” with property developers, which he said had become “common practice”, leading to prospective pub-buyers “locked out of an opportunity to bid.”

He went on: “Another community pub is lost. This route is hardly endearing the company to local drinkers.”