Hatfield pub landlord makes desperate plea to passers-by

PUBLISHED: 15:00 16 January 2019

Eight Bells landlord Andy Parish in the haunted pub. Picture: Danny Loo

Eight Bells landlord Andy Parish in the haunted pub. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

The landlord of one of Welwyn Hatfield’s oldest pubs has made a desperate plea for people to “use it or lose it”.

The Eight Bells pub. Picture: Danny LooThe Eight Bells pub. Picture: Danny Loo

Outside the historic Eight Bells pub in Old Hatfield, a chalkboard sign has been on display with an appeal to passers-by.

Landlord Andy Parish, 61, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “The pub is in trouble - I think it might end up a casualty.”

Sadly, on New Year’s eve, the grade II listed pub was empty for most of the evening.

But Andy added: “Since I put the boards up I’ve had a good bit of interest.”

The sign outside The Eight Bells in Hatfield.The sign outside The Eight Bells in Hatfield.

He explained that he has been very creative in what he offers and is willing to work with locals to make it a great place for everyone.

The pub, which dates back to the sixteenth century, has tried everything from serving food, holding quiz nights, focusing on the history of the building in addition to opening up to local community groups, such as a lone fathers group.

Andy has also had positive feedback from people when the pub has hosted weddings and parties.

He said: “I think the biggest problem is supermarkets.

“They are killing off pubs.”

Andy is referring to the low-cost of alcohol in stores and the fact that people can get more for their money by staying in and drinking.

The downturn in business for pubs is a wider issue.

Between January and June 2018, 18 pubs closed nationally every week and, during the same period, 48 pubs closed in the East of England.

CAMRA’s national chairman Jackie Parker said: “Our own pub closure figures, paint a dismal picture for our pubs.

As taxes continue to rise, more people are choosing to drink at home and as a consequence, pubs are closing down. It’s a vicious cycle.

“Pub closures make us all poorer by reducing overall tax revenues raised by the pub sector and weakening community life in areas where valued pubs close.

“Fundamental change is needed if the British pub is to survive for future generations. We are urging the government to take action to secure the future of our pubs by relieving the tax burden.”

For more information about the pub, visit its Facebook page ‘The Official Page of The Eight Bells’.

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