Regulars at a Huddersfield pub, The Rising Sun in Shelley, are threatening a boycott over the treatment of its popular ex-Army landlord, Andy Scott, by pub giant, Marston’s.
The 49-year-old who has spent nearly three years at the Penistone Road hostelry claims he is being forced out after spending £40,000 of his own money at the place and battling through against the odds following the pandemic.
In a Facebook post he wrote: “My intentions were always to buy the Rising and to continue with the renovations that I have already received so many positive comments about.
“Marston’s have now revalued the property £160k over the purchase price we discussed… and certainly well above any realistic figure.
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“I was then pressured into either signing a further five-year contract or leaving the Rising… so I am very sad to say I have now given Marston’s the required six months’ notice to leave.”
Andy told ExaminerLive: “I am devastated, I have put that much work into it, it has been a labour of love.
“I’m grateful to everyone who has emailed Marston’s on my behalf but I’m afraid it’s not going to make any difference.”
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Regular Gary Justice told ExaminerLive of his anger at the “shoddy treatment” of the landlord saying: “In brief, Andy took over as landlord of this tired and failing local pub approximately three years ago.
“His understanding was that the premises would be offered for sale at some point due to its condition, takings, etc.
“To be clear there was no legal contract in place or binding commitment from Marston’s.
“This is not a legal battle, but a moral one between a man and the community he serves and the uncaring corporate machine that is Marstons. There was however a ballpark figure mentioned.
“In the years of Andy’s management, he has, at his own expense and largely by his own hand, turned a car park into a dry stone walled beer garden, removed decade’s worth of overgrown wasteland and created a second beer garden and is working on transforming wasteland behind the pub into a storytelling come fairy garden for kids, along with water feature and fire pit.
“More importantly he has engaged with the local community and charities. A few examples are a local Hedgehog charity, Air Ambulance, Denby Dale Lions and keeps a charity box from which he seeks customer advice on who to donate content too.
“Easter egg hunts, a visit from Santa, harvest festival fundraising the list is endless…..and if you bring a dog into the pub free treats and bowls of water appear instantly.
“What Andy has done, with the support of us his locals and the local community has transformed this traditional drinking pub into a safe space.
“Children and pets are welcome. My wife can walk into the pub by herself and have a glass of wine in absolute safety.
“Families can enjoy time together without any problems. It is a place you are proud to call your local.
“Recently Andy chased up Marstons again about selling the property to him.
“In short Marston’s have congratulated him on the transformation of the pub and on the increase in takings and are very happy with all that he has done.
“So much so that they will happily sell him the pub but at plus-160k to the sum originally mooted! Furthermore, if he can’t afford that they now want him to sign a five-year contract.
“As he doesn’t want to sign the contract for five years they have put him on notice they are looking for a new manager and he could be moved out of the pub, ( his home), at any time.
“Many of the locals have tried to contact Marston’s to complain. To date I am unaware of any response.
“Feeling is so strong that there is talk of a local protest where people refuse to enter the premises under new ownership and instead will congregate on the village green opposite and bring their own drinks.”
A spokesman for Marston’s said: “We wish Mr Scott success in his next venture and would like to thank him for his time at the Rising Sun.
“Mr Scott was fully aware of the situation regarding the future of the pub at all times.”
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