Sale puts village pub future under threat

PUBLISHED: 10:35 24 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010

ANOTHER historic pub is in danger closure in a short stretch of road where another shut last year. If the Old Red Lion in Frogmore doesn t remain a pub when owners Punch Taverns agree a sale, it would follow in the footsteps of the nearby Swan, which clos

ANOTHER historic pub is in danger closure in a short stretch of road where another shut last year.

If the Old Red Lion in Frogmore doesn't remain a pub when owners Punch Taverns agree a sale, it would follow in the footsteps of the nearby Swan, which closed early last year.

A planning inquiry is set to decide if the developer which bought The Swan from the brewery Fuller's can convert the old pub into a row of houses.

Mark and Angela Tubb had run the Old Red Lion, which is in Watling Street on the bank of the River Ver, for around three years before leaving in October.

Since then it has been under temporary management and pub company Punch Taverns is selling it off. Negotiations are currently underway with a buyer but Punch Taverns were unable to say whether it would continue to trade as a pub.

A spokesperson for the company said: "It is always our priority to keep our pubs trading as pubs but we do review our estate regularly to ensure our sites are maximising their full potential. Given that we have three successful pubs in the area, we have taken the decision to sell the Old Red Lion."

Punch Taverns also own The Overdraught in Park Street, along with both The Old Fox and the Fox and Hounds in Bricket Wood.

In June of last year the Herts Advertiser reported how Gary and Sandra Higinbotham were struggling to stay afloat as tenants of The Old Fox at the end of School Lane.

The couple maintained that it was impossible to pay the £3,000 rent to Punch Taverns each month with the limited amount of trade they had.

Despite Gary keeping his full-time job elsewhere while Sandra and daughter Charlotte ran the pub during the day, they could not make a profit and asked Punch Taverns for a reduction in the annual rent. But they were evicted from the pub and left in financial ruin.

Marion Buckley, who ran The Swan until it closed, took over the pub on a temporary contract until permanent tenants could be found, which has not yet been done.

She was already running the Fox and Hounds in nearby Station Road on another temporary contract after the permanent tenants in that pub also left.

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