Community rallies behind publicans who have been told to leave after 'transforming' local pub in Harborough district

They must leave tomorrow (Tuesday).
New Greyhound pub.New Greyhound pub.
New Greyhound pub.

The community has rallied behind two publicans who have been told to leave after ‘transforming’ a local pub.

Mark and Wendy Richards have been told by landlords Marston’s that they have seven days to vacate the New Greyhound pub in Billesdon so new owners can take over. They are set to hand over the keys tomorrow (Tuesday).

Devastated locals have launched a petition calling for Marston’s to rethink their decision. So far more than 160 people have signed.

It reads: “Our proactive publicans have transformed the New Greyhound pub into a thriving community hub in less than a year. Their tireless efforts have revitalised this vital village asset, making it more than just a place to grab a pint - it's become a place to connect.

“However, they've been given just seven days to vacate by their landlord, Marston’s. We find ourselves on the brink of losing them without understanding why.

“We're asking you to join us in demanding transparency from Marston’s regarding their decision. We believe we deserve an explanation as to why we stand on the verge of losing such important people in our community.

“Please sign this petition if you agree that Mark and Wendy should continue their excellent work at the New Greyhound pub.”

Mark, a publican of more than 35 years, said the first the couple knew of any issues was last Tuesday when they were told by Marston’s it ‘wasn’t working’ and they had a week to leave.

Mark, a dad-of-two, said: “After almost a year at The New Greyhound, we will be moving on. Apparently according to Marstons, ‘it isn't working’ and they have decided it is time for us to leave.

“They have given us seven days to give up vacant possession. We have had a blast in our short time here and made some good friends.

“If we had done things wrong we wouldn’t be putting ourselves through this, accepting the support from so many of the locals, a petition and talking to local MPs.

“Thank you for the support, it’s been emotional, still is emotional. Thank you so much for all the love and support from this amazing community… it’s not quite over yet but the end is nigh.

“We don't know who is stepping in to our shoes but we wish you luck with whomever that may be and them with Marston’s, I have a feeling they will need all the support they can get.”

Locals took to social media to say how much they would miss the publicans.

One wrote: “What a shame, we really liked how you were both developing the pub with discos, pool, quiz nights, take away pizza, coffee, cakes and delicious chicken burgers.

“Every time I came in I was made to feel welcome and comfortable. Always a friendly face and a warm welcome. Thank you both Wendy and Mark for trying so hard to turn the pub around. I’m disappointed in Marston’s decision and feel you both had much more to offer the village and local community if you’d only been give the time to prove this.”

Marston’s told the Mail that “the relationship between the operator and their area manager had broken down” and confirmed a temporary operator will be onsite from Wednesday.

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