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Haverhill businessman plays key part in law change that could save countless businesses




The co-owner of Nine Jars Bistro in Haverhill has thanked the town’s community and MP Matt Hancock for helping to save the business.

After hearing Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling people to stay away from restaurants and bars in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, Robin Pilley contacted Mr Hancock to see what could be done to help his business, and others, survive.

He asked Mr Hancock if he could clarify if pubs and restaurants could provide a food takeaway service –without having to first apply for planning permission to do so.

James (left) and Daniel Pilley at Nine Jars Bistro, which is now providing takeaways.Contributed picture
James (left) and Daniel Pilley at Nine Jars Bistro, which is now providing takeaways.Contributed picture

Like many in business, Robin knew Nine Jars would have to change its offering overnight to ‘avoid immediate redundancies’.

However, Robin said he was amazed to be told by Mr Hancock that he was in direct contact with both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor who had, it seemed, been made aware of the situation at Nine Jars and that its difficulties would be replicated across the country.

Then the next day, the Government announced the change in law to allow pubs and restaurants to develop a takeaway service.

Robin said he messaged Mr Hancock to thank him and he responded with thanks for his input.

“We will be able to survive and protect staff and business supply chains,” said Robin.

“Our takeaway business is now up and running, and I would just like to thank everyone in Haverhill who have given us their support and put positive messages on social media.

“It really does make a difference to our staff.

“I would personally like to thank Matt Hancock for listening to me.

“I would also like to press him to emphasise to the Government to understand that if they give us the tools we will be able to keep the country running – and bounce back even higher when this crisis is over.

“The Haverhiill community is demonstrating that they have a real sense of civic duty and understand what is required, during these times and will hopefully be a beacon of light for the whole country.

“Nine Jars is just a very small cog in GB plc and we are very proud of the difference we have appeared to have made - but it is our staff and customers who should get the most credit. We thank you all.”

Nine Jars has also set up a ‘community shop’ supplying pasta, bread, milk and other essential food items which would help the community and send out food items with free delivery and substantial discounts to NHS staff.


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