Hard cheese for pub goers in Shurdington as bell tolls for venues' futures
A ONCE popular drinking spot near Cheltenham has closed its doors amid fears it may not have enough custom to survive long-term.
Drinkers heading to The Cheese Rollers in Shurdington Road are now greeted by a sign hung above the door saying it is shut until further notice.
And the nearby Bell Inn also faces an uncertain future after its landlord confirmed he would be giving up the lease next month.
Residents voiced disappointment at news of the closure.
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Jo Sobey, chairman of Shurdington parish council, said: "It's a real shame because The Cheese Rollers must have been open for 150 years or so.
"It closed without any warning and everyone has been left wondering what will happen and whether it will reopen.
"It is already looking quite sad. As soon as the doors close at a premises like that and you've got no people in there, it takes on quite a derelict appearance."
The Cheese Rollers' manager Jacqueline Berry was unavailable for comment yesterday. But recently she said she was planning to give up the lease because she was no longer turning over a profit.
She also claimed owners Enterprise Inns had refused to allow any flexibility in the terms of her contract to help cope with a fall in trade.
However a spokesman for the company said the decision to close was purely down to her, and gave assurances the venue would reopen soon.
Vicky Averis, of Enterprise Inns, said: "The publican at The Cheese Rollers has taken the decision to stop opening this week but we will endeavour to have the pub open again as soon as possible."
She would not be drawn on the future of the Bell Inn, despite confirmation that Nick Green, landlord for the past six years, would be leaving on July 9.
Mr Green said protracted negotiations with Enterprise Inns over the terms of a new lease had come to nothing.
"We have been unable to reach an agreement which is a great shame," he said.
"I would have liked to stay but in the end it wasn't possible.
"It means I will be leaving the pub after six years.
"I'm very disappointed but I feel there was nothing more I could have done."
Residents said losing both pubs would be a tough blow to bear for the community.
Mrs Sobey added: "We are hopeful however, that both pubs will not close for good and that at least one of them will be kept going."