Former South Harting pub manager champions campaign

Angie and Steve when they first took over the White Hart
Angie and Steve when they first took over the White Hart
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FOLLOWING her forced departure from a South Harting pub, a pub landlord has joined a national campaign to ensure fairer conditions for local pubs.

Angie Ryan and her husband Stephen Pratt took over the running of the White Hart pub last summer, however they left after ten months following a lengthy tenancy dispute with the building’s owners Enterprise Inns.

Angie has helped champion the campaign and has met with Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery to discuss concerns about how pub companies operate.

Mr Hollingberry has backed a government bill for a statutory code of conduct administered by an independent inspector to be introduced to monitor the mainly self-regulated pub companies.

He said: “They appear to have a monopoly and are in a win-win situation. Often licensees’ terms are onerous and rents high. Many village pubs are in picturesque settings and if they fail, they can be converted into houses.

“But pubs like the White Hart are important social centres and a new code of conduct will help.”

Most new pub company licensees are offered a tied lease, and often the more profitable they make the business, the more their rent goes up.

The new bill going through parliament may not come into effect for some time as there has to be a consultation period.

Hopes are high that if the bill goes through successfully then a repetition of the situation at the White Hart pub could be avoided.

In a note which she pinned to the window of the pub before they left, Angie wrote: “The new code will cover the issues of high rents and beer ties as well as other more serious allegations that were raised in parliament after thousands of complaints were received from desperate tenants and various organisations.”

Angie and Stephen have now concentrated their time on the Eden Bar, in Petersfield, which they also own.

The campaign group hopes if the relationships between pub companies and their tenants can be more clearly defined in law then it should lead to fairer deals and allow pubs to become a more stable part of the community.