'There is still a long way to go' - Ipswich pub landlord on continuing trading
PUBLISHED: 19:24 03 January 2020 | UPDATED: 19:24 03 January 2020
An Ipswich pub landlord who has decided to continue trading amid financial difficulties has said there is a long road ahead for his business.
The shock announcement the Earl Kitchener pub will remain open came on January 2 - the day landlord Steve Wardley had planned to close its doors for good.
Mr Wardley claimed that although the pub remained popular with locals and continued to see punters through its doors, he was not making enough money to pay for operational costs.
A legal battle with Ipswich Borough Council over a series of outdoor events has also seen the 58-year-old in difficulties.
Mr Wardley said: "The pub will remain operational as normal, but its future is reliant on continued support of the community and what goes on behind the scenes.
"There is still a long way to go, but hopefully things will become more affordable."
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The pub received a string of positive comments after announcing the news on its Facebook page.
But the pub has not been without controversy, with Mr Wardley facing noise complaints from Ipswich Borough Council on six occasions in the last two years due to Saturday night music nights and outdoor entertainment.
Opening the pub's car park as an open-air bar and BBQ for last year's Ed Sheeran concerts has also seen him face licensing constraints and a potential £5,000 fine for not submitting a temporary event notice (TEN).
Mr Wardley said: "I have had so many positive messages from people since deciding to keep the pub open.
"I have to rethink my Saturday night entertainment approach now and think who I can get in to get people through the door while also making sure not to cause disturbances to anyone nearby.
"I am hopeful for the future if I receive the continued support of the community, that's what it all comes down to."
Mr Wardley, who lives upstairs in the pub said he will continue to meet with all parties involved to see a resolution to any disagreements.
A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: "Licences are there to ensure that people are conducting licensable activities in a safe and reasonable manner that doesn't negatively impact on the surrounding community. If people don't follow the process and are operating outside the law we have a responsibility to act."