The landlords of three Haverhill pubs have questioned the sense in allowing a mobile bar to be used at a free music event staged just a stone’s throw from their pubs.
The licensees of the Bull, The Bell and the Drabbet Smock are all unhappy that the bar, in the form of a converted double decker bus, was used at the town council organised event on market square on Saturday - and at the free music night two few weeks earlier.
Two of the landlords said that compared to the free music nights held in the square over previous years their takings were down - one of them by at least £700.
All the licensees also complained that their toilets were used by a steady stream of people who attended the music night, where the bar was provided but no toilet facilities
Scott Jones, manager at the Drabbet Smock, said: “Sales on the nights were not anywhere close to sales levels reached in previous years, so we did not see any uplift at all, in fact they were only just in line with a normal Saturday evening trade, although our toilet facilities were in constant use all night with a lot of customers just coming in the premises to use the toilets and leave.“
Cliff Webb, landlord at The Bull, said: “I reckon I took about £700 less than I normally do. It may have been more.
“You would think they would be supporting the pubs that have been here for years.
“Normally I let people in to go to the toilet but I didn’t. The only reason I did that was because I didn’t think it was right for that bus to be there.”
Claire Dosoruth, who runs The Bell with partner Mickie Rogers, was also unimpressed with the use of the beer bus on the square.
She said: “I do feel sorry for the Drabbet and the Bull because I know they get a hell of a lot of trade from the Market Square.
“On Saturday we didn’t increase in trade at all.
“It’s just that we are all trying to work together and share the trade amongst everyone so we are all in business and not shutting down pubs in the high street.”
Will Austin, the clerk to Haverhill Town Council, explained that the owner of the bus, Bar Vu and Dejavu owner Harry Zachariou, approached them with a request to use it at the music nights.
Mr Austin said: “We don’t want to cause any difficulties to any of the pubs. What we agreed for Harry this year was to allow him to be part of the event and to station the coach on the square on the proviso that he obtained a temporary event notice from the borough council, and he did.
“What we were doing was supporting another local business on top of those who already benefit from the many local people who were there.
“We are always happy to look again at how our events are organised to make them the most successful for all concerned.
“I would strongly urge the licensees to come and talk to us. It’s important that we have that discussion.”