Ipswich's Pump and Grind ordered to leave Great Colman Street venue by Sunday
PUBLISHED: 19:30 14 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:13 15 December 2016
An independent Ipswich pub involved in a contractual dispute is facing a shock closure just one week before Christmas.
Tom Kerridge, of Pump and Grind, has received a letter from landlord Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) giving him an ultimatum – sign a lease agreement or be out of the Great Colman Street venue by this Sunday.
It stems from a fall-out over who should pay to fix the building’s leaking roof.
Mr Kerridge said he opened Pump and Grind in April 2015 on the understanding M&B would carry out and cover the cost of this maintenance. But when the contract came through, he claims it did not honour this agreement so he has refused to sign it.
However, M&B has claimed it offered Mr Kerridge a rent-free period in exchange for him organising the repairs himself.
On Friday Mr Kerridge received a letter from M&B’s solicitor giving him 10 days to sign the lease agreement already on the table or shut the pub for good.
Mr Kerridge asked for a delay, but M&B says it has been working on the issue for a number of months so it will not budge.
“All my staff who are students and struggling artists and musicians will suddenly not have a job just before Christmas,” Mr Kerridge said.
“For them [M&B] to do this at this time of year with this amount of notice is really dark, I think.”
The 37-year-old said he had no communication from M&B or its representatives since June and the notice had come “out of the blue”.
Both sides have said they are keen to strike a deal to enable Mr Kerridge to continue to trade from the venue, which was empty for four years before he took over.
Pump and Grind acts as a pub, a nightclub, a cafe, a restaurant and a music venue.
It has hosted big-name acts, including DJ Maseo from De La Soul, as well as regular poetry nights, vintage fairs, dance classes and culinary pop-ups.
It is also one of the few places in Ipswich to offer vegan food.
Mr Kerridge said: “It’s adding a bit of variety and culture to the town.
“We are providing entertainment and bringing world-renowned artists into Ipswich to perform and I think that’s something that was lacking for a lot of years.
“This independent space doesn’t exist in Ipswich. There’s chains and big pub companies but this kind of counterculture is hard to come by in Ipswich and I thought it was really important that it happened.”
Mr Kerridge, who formerly ran the Paper Bag Factory in Falcon Street, raised the money to open Pump and Grind through a record label that he started in 2004 called Ramp Recordings.
A spokeswoman for M&B said: “We have been trying for a number of months to finalise a lease agreement with the tenant on the basis that all terms were agreed some time ago.
“Therefore in the interest of securing the occupation we have issued a deadline notice. We hope to reach a conclusion as soon as possible.”
Pump and Grind is open as normal until Sunday at 5pm.