Landlords claim ‘hostile’ locals have forced them out of village pub

Owners of the Fox and Hounds pub in Great Wolford, Warwickshire, say a social media campaign against them has left them with no other option but to sell up.

The historic pub has been closed since 2016 (Credit: TripAdvisor)

Stephen Allely and Jacqueline Harding had bought the 16th century pub for £325,000 before spending a further £40,000 renovating it in 2015.

Sadly, only six months later they closed the Grade-II listed pub as, they claim, a “hostile social media campaign” had been launched against them in order to persuade people to boycott the pub.

Peter Brunt of Colliers International, who sold the pub to Allely and Harding in 2015, said: “For whatever reason, Jackie and Steve’s refurbishment did not sit well with some of the locals.”

The new owners’ refurbishment included removing the original oak bar, along with bringing in a jukebox and TV.

Some, such as the Cotswold village’s Charles Pearmain, had felt the refurbishment had caused the pub to lose its history and original character.

“They came in, ripped out the interior and replaced it with Ikea-style pine furniture. They were going for a sports bar feel and it simply didn’t work.”

Locals went to pubs in the next village and even further afield as a result.

Pearmain, who set up a website lobbying for the Fox and Hounds to be “rescued”, also accused the couple of negligence as pub operators: “The pub’s opening times were irregular and they didn’t seem to care.

“They also own a café in nearby Bourton-on-the-Water but you simply cannot run a pub as a hobby.”

The couple have been living in the pub since its closure in 2016, and had submitted planning permission to turn it into two houses, but this failed due to further opposition from the locals.

It now has an Asset of Community Value notification registers on it, so they have been left with no option but to sell the pub that dates from the 1540s.

Brunt says the couple will be accepting offers in the region of £550,000.

2 Responses to “Landlords claim ‘hostile’ locals have forced them out of village pub”

  1. The truth is that Allely and Harding bought the pub to make a quick buck. Nobody with any experience of the trade, especially of running a pub in a small village community, could manage to alienate their entire customer base so quickly or efficiently unless they intended to. The village offered them £400k for the place after it had failed (remember they only paid £325,000 for it) but this was turned down flat and £650k demanded to “Get your pub back”. They’re now offering it for sale at £550k having destroyed any goodwill and failed to get planning permission for conversion to housing. Great Wolford would welcome a decent landlord who wanted to become part of the village with open arms, but greedy opportunists? They are NOT welcome.

  2. Dale Hodgson says:

    I would love to take the pub back to its former glory. If any villagers see this, please contact me. I admire your passion and reason.

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