‘The industry is finished’ – Landlord leaves pub blaming virus for creating closed society

PUBLISHED: 14:06 29 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:45 29 October 2020

The landlords of The Compasses pub in Holbrook are leaving after four years in the village. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The landlords of The Compasses pub in Holbrook are leaving after four years in the village. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS


The landlord of The Compasses pub in Holbrook is calling final orders after blaming coronavirus for creating a “closed society”.

The popular pub in Ipswich Road has announced it will be closing its doors on Sunday, November 15, following a rocky period caused by Covid-19, with new landlords set to take over the Punch Pubs premises.

Clare Ling, The Compasses manager, announced the closure on Wednesday night and added she, Ken and Gavin would miss all their loyal customers.

Ken Lellow, who has been the pub’s landlord for the last four years, said trading has been down 70% in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “The industry is finished and pubs are not like what they used to be.

“Trading is down by 70% after Covid, I am struggling to pay the rent and pay people’s wages. I’ve been losing a few thousand pounds a week staying there.

“It is draining me dry.”

The pub is one of two in Holbrook, alongside The Swan, which closed down earlier this year after owners Calvors Brewery put it on the market.

At the time, Calvors also put The Rampant Horse in Needham Market up for sale after blaming the virus for making it “unviable”.

MORE: Calvors Brewery puts The Swan and The Rampant Horse pubs up for sale

The Swan has remained closed since the summer, but new owners are due to reopen the venue later in the year.

Mr Lellow, 79, said he has “had enough” and has decided to call it a day at The Compasses, despite trying to make it work and making it Covid-secure over the summer.

“We are becoming a closed society,” he said. “We can’t even chat to a neighbour without fear of getting infected, it’s dangerous times.”

Mr Lellow returned to the pub trade more than 16 years ago but says he wishes he hadn’t.

“The atmosphere has gone, you can’t sit at a bar anymore and there is no pleasure in it. It’s like you are in prison.”

Ed Passey, operations director of Punch Pubs, said: “We can confirm that the publicans at The Compasses have made the decision not to renew their lease and to leave the pub. We wish them all the best in the future and we are pleased to have already recruited a new publican who will be taking on The Compasses in November.

“We look forward to welcoming them to the local community and sharing their exciting plans for the future.”

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