Pub looks set to be turned into student flats
A COUPLE who have spent the last two years trying to turn a local pub into a centre for the community have been left shattered by the news that it is to be closed down and turned into flats.
Lorna Bartlett and Richard Beaton, who are both in their 60s, took over the Spring Garden Tavern in Hotwell Road just over two years ago.
But it has just emerged that owner Admiral Taverns is in talks to sell the pub to developers who are planning to turn the building into student flats.
Both have decades of experience between them in the hostelry trade and took on the pub with the aim of creating a venture which would keep them occupied during their retirement.
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As reported in the Post the rate of pub closures has speeded up in recent years and in some areas of the city there are no longer any traditional locals.
Mr Beaton said: "We always wanted to do something that would involve everyone in the community and we put a lot of effort and hard work into it.
"Just a few weeks ago we got a letter from the owners who said they were in negotiations to sell the pub and we were both devastated. We have put a lot of hard work and effort into the pub and we were really looking forward to the future.
"We were running the pub as a not for profit organisation even though we had put a lot of hard work and effort into the venture, so it makes the news even harder to take."
As well as holding dance and yoga classes during the day the Spring Garden was also building up a reputation as a venue for live bands.
Mr Beaton said: "We aimed to have a live band on most nights and we were building up a reputation as a venue and I think we were getting there. It is really sad because there is yet another live venue that will disappear and another pub that has gone forever."
A spokesman for Admiral Taverns said: "We regularly review the pubs that we own and from time to time we do have to take the decision to sell a property that we do not believe has a long-term future as a part of our business.
"It is our strong preference that any property that we sell remains as a pub, although we have to accept that the future use will ultimately pass into the hands of a new owner."
Meanwhile, one of Bristol's oldest pubs has had a change of management. The Adam and Eve pub on Hope Chapel Hill in Hotwells was being run by landlord Daniel Truckle.
As reported in the Post the pub was one of the only ones in the South West where customers could enjoy a pint and a film. The pub, which dates back to the 1750's, held a cinema night once a week in a bid to bring in more customers.
The pub has since closed temporarily and a new management team is being brought in.
According to pressure group Camra pubs are closing at the rate of 12 a week, with "crippling" beer taxes threatening the future of the industry. The real ale campaigners said that between last September and March, eight pubs closed every week in towns and four in rural areas.
Camra said more than 33,000 consumers have now signed a national e-petition calling for an end to above-inflation beer tax increases in response to a 42 per cent increase in duty since 2008.
Camra's chief executive Mike Benner said: "Whether situated in a small village, city high street, or on the edge of a housing estate, pubs are so central to our society that whole communities can grow around a particular pub.
"A threat to the future of traditional pubs is therefore also a threat to countless social groups within Britain that thrive because of their local.
"Unsustainable beer tax increases by the Government are ripping the heart out of community centres, but with over 33,000 consumers having recently signed the beer tax e-petition, beer drinkers and pub-goers are actively voicing their discontent."