Shock as notice given at The Feathers in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Less than two months after taking on their beloved local pub a Gorleston couple are preparing to turn their backs on their dream and give back the keys.
Terry and Julie Earing were loving life behind the bar in The Feathers when a crunch meeting with the pub's owners yesterday delivered a bombshell blow.
Instead of being offered a five year tenancy agreement as they had hoped Craft Union Pubs, a branch of EI Group (Enterprise Inns), said they wanted the pub back - and had big plans for its future.
Mr Earing said all the family were devastated.
'We never dreamed the guillotine was going to come down,' he said. 'They are taking the pub back because they see the potential in it now and have offered us to stay as managers.
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'But we did not take the pub to work for someone else, we took it because we love the pub and wanted a family business.
'Now they want it back and want to change it. As far as I am concerned that's it done for me, they have ripped our heart out.
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'For someone who wants to be a manager it's probably a great opportunity, but we are a family. We do not see a future working for Craft Union.
'We do not want to manage it, we want to own it.
'It's been great, a great two months. We had people in all day long.
'They liked what we did and said they would get us another pub but we said it was The Feathers or nothing.
'It is better to walk away. If someone is looking for a manager's position it's a good job that will suit someone but it wouldn't be our Feathers.'
Plans for a new-look Feathers include more of an emphasis on sport and knocking the two bars into one.
Meanwhile across the river in Great Yarmouth The Feathers in Market Gates is also grappling with the same dilemma.
Licensee Paul Southey posted on Facebook that he had been delivered the same ultimatum after two years at the pub, known for its live music and karaoke - and faced a six week notice period.
Pub regular John Mitchell of Northgate Street said he was unhappy about the changes and plans to alter the historic watering hole.
The 70-year-old had been drinking there for 50 years and went in most days.
He said: 'It's just about the last typically English pub in town. This will totally ruin it.'
A spokesman for EI Group said Craft Union was an operating model set up in the last few years mainly focussed on pubs in the north.
Its pubs were primarily community lead, he said, often working closely with local sports teams.