Landlords will leave pub over race week tensions
ANGRY landlords Tom Bisco and Kim Smith have resigned only 10 months after taking over their Cheltenham pub – claiming they were threatened with closure during race week.
The couple, who took over The Sudeley Arms in Prestbury Road, Pittville, in May, claim that licensing officers told them they would shut the pub down if they were filled past capacity.
They were told that they must not allow more than 90 people in the premises despite the property being capable of holding around 140.
They said the decision was "wholly unfair" as they believed other pubs had been allowed to bend the rules.
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They also felt they had been targeted because the pub previously had a bad reputation.
Tom, 30, said: "I don't understand it. Race week has always been the busiest week and every pub in Cheltenham has always allowed customers to drink outside.
"But they said they would close us down if we had too many people in the pub.
"I feel like we've been victimised because of the pub's history – but we've been very good since taking over and have barred a few people.
"Ask anyone and they will say the pub has changed.
"It's now going to be very hard for us (to keep this pub going).
"The whole point of moving here was so we could save some money while living and working in the building.
"But our takings have been halved and we can't afford to do it anymore."
Now, Tom and his partner Kim – who have three children – have decided to cut their losses.
They say they will leave the pub once their six-month notice is completed.
A spokeswoman for Gloucestershire police said: "This week, police officers have been joined by a council licensing officer and fire officer to carry out checks at licensed premises across the town to ensure licensing restrictions were being followed and that each venue was safe.
"Capacity restrictions are put in place for the safety of customers and staff and a number of venues were spoken to regarding concerns about overcrowding due to the large numbers of people out socialising during race week.
"Checks were made on all of these premises. If Mr Bisco wishes to discuss his concerns with us we would be happy to speak to him."