AFTER more than 15 years managing a village pub in Ashleworth, landlords Tony and Gill Burreddu have been given planning permission to change the pub into a house. They insist it is a "safeguard", in case business at the 173-year-old pub does not pick up and insist they are keen to keep it running. Here, Tony shares his views on what has affected the pub trade after various changes to legislation.
WE are very sad that it has come to this.
When we bought the pub 15 and a half years ago, we thought we would be handing it on to the next generation of publicans.
Unfortunately the reality today is that times have certainly changed, especially for pubs in villages that are not on A roads.
There has also been the smoking ban, the recession, supermarkets selling cheap alcohol and meal deals, and people not having that little extra at the end of the month.
Our lunch-time trade, mainly pensioners, has had the biggest knock; with low interest rates, the drop in retirement annuity returns and the general increase in living costs, people just do not have that disposable income.
It's a tough time for everyone really, and some of the worst hit are restaurants and pubs in villages and not in towns.
I hope things pick up, but that is the way things are at the moment.
Beginning with the recession in 2007, people started changing the way they do everything.
People just don't have the money to keep going to pubs and restaurants.
We have got by in the last couple of years, and it is something that has affected the village pubs for the last couple of years now.
It's a really serious situation, and one that needs to be addressed quickly.
These are the things that are affecting the pubs out in the country like ourselves.
Advertising is difficult, and we can't put up A boards, and the problem is that nobody drives past the pubs anymore because we are not on A roads.
It's tough, and the economic climate has changed.
There is more cheap alcohol in shops now, and other factors affecting trade.
We are currently trading and will be carrying on trading for the foreseeable future.
We have had to take this option as a safeguard. Hopefully if the economy picks up and with the support of our good friends and more customers it could still have a happy ending.
We have always looked after the pub, and it always had good reviews and write ups.
We have done everything to keep it going, and it has been good to us.
We want to keep going.