By Liam O’Sullivan
A prospective licensee is ‘interested’ in taking on the popular Bankhouse Inn in Pudsey, the company which owns the pub has said.
Star Pubs & Bars confirmed the interest after WLD‘s this week highlighted that the much-loved pub is still looking for a new landlord two-and-a-half years after it last closed its doors.
A spokesperson for Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars said in a statement: “We have interest from a prospective licensee and are keen to reopen the Bankhouse Inn as quickly as possible. We hope that the local community will support and use the pub when it reopens.”
The company, which owns around 2,400 pubs across the country, also responded to criticism from Pudsey pub-goers frustrated at the their asking price for renting the establishment.
Star Pubs & Bars have listed The Bankhouse for £54,000 for ingoing costs, and then a further £49,768 for annual rent. Regulars have called on Star to reduce the costs for a new landlord to take over – or risk it lying empty for years to come.
Earlier this week Craig Timmins commented on WLD’s Facebook page, saying: “I think the problem is the amount they’re asking for someone to invest in it even before it opens its doors. Lots of potential, but people are priced out of it.”
Josie Jarosz – a former Pudsey councillor – added: “There is no way anyone could make a profit after the rent the landlords demand.”
But with the current increase in energy costs, some weren’t surprised by the pub remaining closed. Peter Andrews, also on Facebook, said: “I think you would have to be mad to take on a pub lease at the moment with energy prices soaring for businesses with only a six-month cap in place.”
But a spokesperson for Star Pubs & Bars said: “The rent is set at the current market value. Rents are set by a panel which include a professionally qualified team of Chartered Surveyors and RICS accredited Valuers.”
The pub is still listed as being available for lease on the StarPubs and Inns website. The listing states a desire for the potential operator of The Bankhouse to have a passion for serving quality food and prior experience in the pub industry.
Should the pub reopen, its annual turnover is estimated to be £645,870.
In March this year, the listing for the lease was removed on the Star Pubs & Bars website, which suggested there was interest in taking over the building, but since then it has been re-listed on the website and is still seeking a new operator.
Further details on leasing the pub can be found here.
More of WLD‘s coverage of The Bankhouse here.