City landlord: I lost £40k on failed bar

PUBLISHED: 06:30 25 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:41 02 July 2010

The closed bar in Norwich

The closed bar in Norwich

David Bale

The perils of running a pub during the recession have been highlighted by a former city landlord who says he lost £40,000 trying to make a success of his business.

The perils of running a pub during the recession have been highlighted by a former city landlord who says he lost £40,000 trying to make a success of his business.

Richard Chisnell, who used to run Miike's bar, formerly Boltz, in St John Maddermarket, said today he is currently out of work after it failed.

As reported in the Evening News, Mr Chisnell was last week banned from playing music at the bar after he was caught without a licence.

But Mr Chisnell said today he had left the bar three months ago and had no idea he was being prosecuted at the High Court in London, because the letters advising him of it were probably still lying on the bar's doorstep.

He said he could also not remember an inspector from music royalties' collectors, Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) visiting the pub on September 15 last year, when he heard tracks being played including 'Waiting Around', 'Damn' and 'Love Thing'.

The closed pub is now being sold on the open market by pub group Enterprise Inns.

Mr Chisnell, who is now living with friends in London, said: “I took over the bar in July 2008, but my rent was very high and the takings were not as high as I was told they were.

“In April last year Enterprise Inns reduced my rent to help me pay outstanding debts, including £2,000 water bills and electric bills.

“Bills were being paid one at a time, but in September Enterprise decided to put my rent up and hit me with hefty fines for buying stock out of contract. This was unworkable.”

Mr Chisnell claims he was told by an Enterprise Inns representative to move out on October 1, 2009, when the pub group would take control of the bar and clear all his debts. Enterprise then put the pub up for sale.

Mr Chisnell added: “This resulted in me losing the £19,000 I had paid for the lease and the £9,000 deposit and £4,500 for fixtures and fittings.

“Losing my business and then my home meant I lost altogether £40,000.

“I had no idea about the music licence people coming round to the pub, but was sifting through my paper work whilst at Miike's, paying one company at a time.”

Enterprise Inns does not comment on individual landlords, but a spokeswoman said: “We have taken the decision to sell this site on the open market and it is currently being marketed by Humberstones of Norwich.”

The Evening News has, through our Love Your Local campaign, been highlighting the need for people to support their local pubs or risk them closing for good.

To see previous stories from our campaign log on to

Have you got a pubs story for the Evening News? Ring reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email

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