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Owner’s £145,000 fight with taxman after car crashes into his pub

PUBLISHED: 18:06 26 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:07 26 August 2018

Damage to the Brick Kilns pub at Little Plumstead after a car crashed into the wall. Pub owner Paul Anderson-Cowles.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Damage to the Brick Kilns pub at Little Plumstead after a car crashed into the wall. Pub owner Paul Anderson-Cowles. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A company director has told how trade plummeted after a car crashed into his Norfolk pub - leaving him unable to pay a £145,000 tax bill.

The Citroen which crashed into the Brick Kilns Pub.The Citroen which crashed into the Brick Kilns Pub.

Paul Anderson-Cowles, who owns the Brick Kilns pub in Little Plumstead, said he fell behind on his tax payments following the incident in 2016.

Now HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has gone to court seeking a compulsory winding up order for his company, Honeycombe (UK) Ltd.

It said the firm owed £145,025 in unpaid tax.

But at a hearing in London last week, a High Court judge adjourned the matter to allow Mr Anderson-Cowles to settle the amount.

Damage to the Brick Kilns pub at Little Plumstead after a car crashed into the wall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYDamage to the Brick Kilns pub at Little Plumstead after a car crashed into the wall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The 70-year-old, who has run his pub since 1972, is pursuing an insurance claim worth about £150,000 from the crash two years ago.

In May 2016 a Citroen ploughed into the dining room of his pub after being hit by another car at the notorious Norwich Road and Salhouse Road junction.

Mr Anderson-Cowles said the pub’s summer trade was severely impacted by the incident as repairs to his building were not completed until September.

He said: “2016 was an exceptionally busy year and everyone was way, way up on trade. But for obvious reasons my trade was down. When we were boarded up we didn’t get any passing trade. So instead of having this one-off magic summer, it turned out to be worse than the winter.”

Damage to the Brick Kilns pub at Little Plumstead after a car crashed into the wall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYDamage to the Brick Kilns pub at Little Plumstead after a car crashed into the wall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mr Anderson-Cowles said his takings fell from £25,000 to £9,000 during one week in June 2016.

He added: “The VAT is a big lump of our cash flow and I just didn’t have the turnover to pay for it.”

He stressed that the pub was trading as normal.

At the court hearing on Thursday, August 23, Honeycombe’s barrister said company directors were also seeking other avenues of funding.

“They will be in funds in the next six to eight weeks to discharge the entirety of the debt,” said the barrister.

Deputy judge Catherine Addy QC said: “In view of these circumstances I will adjourn [the petition for winding up] to 17 October for settlement in full.”

If the company had been wound up, its affairs would have been handed over to an official receiver. The receiver’s job is to ensure that debts are paid off by selling any assets available and then bringing the business to a close.

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