Future of pubs uncertain as management company goes into administration

Sam WilliamsFour Norfolk pubs are among more than 40 facing an uncertain future after management company GRS Inns went into administration.Attleborough-based GRS Inns and its parent company, London Town, went into administration last week after being unable to repay debts following tough trading conditions in the pub industry.Sam Williams

Four Norfolk pubs are among more than 40 facing an uncertain future after management company GRS Inns went into administration.

Attleborough-based GRS Inns and its parent company, London Town, went into administration last week after being unable to repay debts following tough trading conditions in the pub industry.

Administrator Pricewaterhouse-Coopers (PwC) said buyers were currently being sought to secure the long-term future of the 44 GRS Inns pubs, which will continue to trade as normal in the short term.

The pubs include The Forge, on Philadelphia Lane, Catton Grove, the Queen's Head in Wymondham, The Swan in Loddon and the King's Head in Thetford.


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PwC was unable to confirm how many people were employed at the GRS Inns pubs or its headquarters, but company accounts show the company had 81 staff in pub management and operations and 30 in administration during 2008.

Employees at the pubs were unable to comment on the future of the premises, but staff at The Forge confirmed the pub was continuing to trade as normal.

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PwC said most of the jobs at London Town, which runs about 350 pubs, had been secured after the managed pubs and managed services arms of the business were sold to a new investment group, headed by former London Town management.

David Chubb, partner at PwC and joint administrator, said: "This has been a particularly complex restructuring, but we are pleased to have preserved the majority of the business, and therefore jobs, through the transactions we have completed.

"In order to avoid immediate closure of the 44 leased pubs in GRS Inns, we have negotiated a short-term management contract and hope this will allow time to attempt to secure the longer-term survival of these pubs.

"All the pubs are on the market and we would ask interested parties to contact our agents, Christie & Co."

He added: "We would like to thank all the employees, landlords and suppliers to London Town for their support while we undertake this task over the next few weeks."

In September, the Evening News reported that London Town Inns was offering the lease of the Swan in Loddon with no payment up front for the remaining 12 years of its 20-year lease from Enterprise Inns.

Anyone interested in buying the leased pubs should contact James Shorthouse at Christie & Co on 020 7227 0760.

� Do you have a story about a pub for the Evening News? Call David Bale on 01603 772427, or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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