Closure of Denmead pub shows grim realities of struggling trade

LEAVING Ginny Paul outside the Fox and Hounds Pub, School Lane, Denmead.  Picture: Allan Hutchings (120803-654)
LEAVING Ginny Paul outside the Fox and Hounds Pub, School Lane, Denmead. Picture: Allan Hutchings (120803-654)

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LANDLADY Ginny Paul knows all too well the grim realities of running a pub in these tough times.

After 13 years in charge the Fox & Hounds in School Lane, Denmead, she is calling last orders and selling it to developers.

She and husband Stephen, both 49, put their life and soul into the pub but after seeing trade plummet they say they have no option but to give up.

The pub will soon close and like scores of others across the area, will be replaced by homes.

Mrs Paul said the closure was not about making money, but was down to the sad fact that pubs are finding it difficult to survive.

‘My husband and I have been in the pub trade for 27 years and we’ve been here for 13,’ she said.

‘This is not about a greedy developer.

‘It’s been on the market as a freehold for 12 months and we have not had any interest.

‘My husband had a stroke three years ago and we decided we had to come out of the business.

‘People don’t use us any more. It’s been 50 per cent less trade than this time last year.

‘It needs someone to come in with an injection of cash and capital but will they get a good return? I don’t think so.

‘Whether this pub gets developed or not it’s quite likely we will shut these doors.

‘My husband works as a driver 60 hours a week just to keep this pub open and we’re throwing money down the drain.

‘While some people might be upset I would respectfully remind them that it’s not their home.

‘I live here with two children and we will leave here with nothing.

‘It’s a difficult time and anyone who has ever worked in this industry knows how hard it is.

‘The very fact my husband is working so many hours to keep this pub afloat is indicative of the industry.’

Although there is no firm date Mrs Paul said the Fox & Hounds could close within weeks rather than months.

Developer Bensam Homes wants to demolish the existing pub and build two four-bedroom homes with garages.

Neighbours have already been notified and two have responded in support of the plans.

The consultation period ends on March 27.

Representations should be made to Winchester City Council by March 27 and a decision will be made next month.