Landlord’s dismay as Ipswich community pub set to close in new year
PUBLISHED: 10:52 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:07 02 January 2020
A saddened landlord whose popular Ipswich pub is to shut in the new year said he fears for his local community following its impending closure.
The Earl Kitchener pub in Hadleigh Road will close on January 2 as landlord Steve Wardley said he can no longer afford to keep it open.
Mr Wardley, 58, who lives upstairs at the pub, blamed "major losses" in Saturday night entertainment trade and a societal decline in pub culture as reasons behind the pub's shock closure.
However, authorities said they took legal action after the pub failed to apply for a temporary event notice (TEN) in August when it opened a temporary outside bar without permission.
Mr Wardley said: "I just feel exhausted, I've exhausted all my finances but there are debts to be paid that have continued to grow.
"I have enjoyed the job, but it can be stressful with the long hours and trying to please everyone. I've tried lots of different avenues to get people in, but the pub trade is just such a hard game to be in these days."
The landlord's disagreements with Ipswich Borough Council stem from when the pub held an outdoor bar and BBQ for Ed Sheeran concert goers in August before and after each of his four summer gigs.
A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: "The Earl Kitchener Pub failed to submit a TEN for the August bank holiday weekend to permit the use of an outside bar and regulated entertainment in the car park outside the premises.
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"The council therefore took legal action against the premises licence holder for the pub."
Mr Wardley said the disagreement between both parties over noise complaints could see him fined up to £5,000.
Mr Wardley added he worries about the local community with many other pubs in local estates meeting a similar fate.
He said: "It is the hub of the community, these closures mean everybody will go to the town centre instead.
"Pubs play such a big part of local community life - everybody knows each other and they play a role as a place for people to meet."
Mr Wardley confirmed there will be job losses as a result.
He added: "I have three people working for me who all have children and families to support and now they have to go find something more. It's awful.
"This pub is my home, I've lived here for more than three years. I haven't got a clue where I'll go."
The pub's football team, Kitchener Taverners, previously featured in an online video where they were coached by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, with the former Barcelona coach praising the table-topping squad.
Mr Wardley said the future of the club - which has 11,000 YouTube subscribers - remains unknown.
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