‘We’ve already got rid of Sky and BT’: popular pub fights to survive

Sisters and business owners Simone Hopwood and Leona Gard at Welly's Smokehouse in Cromer, part of t

Sisters and business owners Simone Hopwood and Leona Gard at Welly's Smokehouse in Cromer, part of the Wellington freehouse on Garden Street. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

The owners of a popular family-run pub are calling for more support to help them survive the winter.

The Wellington pub. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

The Wellington pub. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Simone Hopwood and Leona Gard, sisters and business owners at the Wellington in Cromer, fear they slipped through the cracks when local grants were handed out.

And with coronavirus restrictions still in place, which means only 36 people can be in the Garden Street pub at any one time, they don’t think they can make it through the winter without help.

Local grants of £25,000 were given to businesses with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000, and businesses valued at £15,000 or less were given £10,000 grants. But the Wellington’s rateable value is £52,000, so they missed out.

The pub also includes Welly’s Smokehouse, and they were given a £10,000 grant from North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) for that side of the business.

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Ms Hopwood said: “We are charged two lots of rates yet they have put the two together as one business.

“Numerous business owners that have more than one business have been given grants for each premises, so why haven’t we?

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“The Wellington slipped through the net. We will probably not make it through the winter without the local government’s help. We feel really let down.”

Co-owner Leona Gard said: “They put us in with the big boys, with the rateable value, but we are just a family-run pub. This pub has been in the family for 30 years.

“We pay business rates of £33,000, £25,000 for the pub and £8,000 for the restaurant.

“We opened on Saturday, July 4 with new guidelines. There’s no standing room at the pub now, and we are limited to a maximum of 36 people inside.

“There must be some compromise with the council so that they can help us. We have already got rid of Sky and BT as we cannot afford them.”

The British Beer and Pub Association, which represents brewers and pub companies, has written to the chancellor Rishi Sunak with other interested parties to ask for the £51,000 limit to be scrapped.

Councils do have discretionary powers to help struggling businesses, if any funds are left over. An NNDC spokesman said that while they could not comment on individual cases and the details of individual claims, the council had paid out more than £54m in government-allocated funding for businesses.

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