11 months ago
Pubs have had a hard time since Covid, which makes headlines like this one all the more heartbreaking to read.
The Grosvenor Arms is a lovely pub, isn’t it. On Garrett Lane, it’s that classic, feel good hub that you look for in your local. There’s a curry club on Thursday, they’ll do you 2-4-1 on fish and chips on Fridays and of course, there’s a slap up roast on Sundays. They sponsor amateur football clubs, they’ll host your post-wedding party, oh- and ‘they know a thing or two about beer’. It’s a convivial spot that’s embedded in the South West London community.
Everyone knows that the pandemic years were tough on our pubs; they were hit with enforced closures and then strict regulations as the country got back on its feet (remember the days of having to order a ‘substantial meal’ with a drink?). Post Covid hasn’t been smooth sailing either. Over 32 pubs closed every month in England and Wales in 2022 due to the rising energy bills and difficulty in finding staff. So the pubs we do have left are precious.
Which is why it is especially hard to hear that the Grosvenor Arms is facing yet another challenge. In November 2022 pub landlord Simon Guthrie was hit by bill from United Gas & Power of £14,000. They had mistakenly undercharged him throughout the year after one of their energy metres had malfunctioned, and then demanded that he pay the outstanding costs within 3 months or they would return with the police and bailiffs.
Though he managed to dispute the time limit and get it extended to a 6 month repayment period, Simon has said “We are a small, independent business. We don’t have that sort of money”. After the 6 month period Simon will still be unable to pay the £14k fee, so his taking the matter to court, though United Gas & Power are still threatening to disconnect his energy supply.
Pub by candlelight and torch? There’s a sense of romance to it and quite frankly, we can see the pubs locals getting behind them in any way they can. The ombudsman report is set to be released on the 13th April, where the future of the Grosvenor Arms will become clearer.