A VILLAGE pub landlady says she will forced to close unless residents support the business.
Sallie Adams and her husband Paul took over the Crown in Nuffield two months ago and are the latest in a series of tenants to run the Brakspear pub in the past two years.
Mrs Adams claims another tenant would not be willing to take on the business and the village would lose the pub forever.
The couple are relying on her income as a TV make-up artist as the pub is not generating enough income. On one day last week, it made just £80.
Mrs Adams, whose husband has more than 20 years’ experience in the pub trade, said: “We have simply not got the support from residents but if we go it will be the end. They’ll lose the pub.
“It is such a shame because we have one of the best chefs in the area but other than standing in the middle of the road and stopping cars I don’t know what else I can do.”
The couple had to let their manager go as they couldn’t afford his wages and have tried a number of ways to encourage more custom, including setting up a website and employing chef David Benney, who previously worked at the Crown at Pishill and the Five Horseshoes in Maidensgrove.
Mrs Adams said: “For Paul to stand here all day by himself and just take £80 is dreadful and to have an amazing chef just to make a sandwich is pointless.”
The couple have put a big blackboard outside the pub saying “We are open” after customers told them they had heard a rumour that it was closing. The pub doesn’t open on Mondays and the Adams are considering closing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as well if their takings don’t improve.
Mrs Adams, who is currently preparing to work on the new series of ITV drama Whitechapel, said: “The pub world is changing. When we opened here I thought pubs were back in vogue but now I can safely say that they are not. It doesn’t matter how good you are, it is a struggle.
“I hate giving in, I really hate it, but it’s just not working. We are lucky the pub is not our only income because we wouldn’t survive.
“I do feel sorry for other people who try to run a pub like this. I really don’t know how they manage it. People just don’t seem aware they are going to lose all their lovely pubs unless they use them.”
The couple decided to return to the area after Mr Adams retired but then found he didn’t like having nothing to do. They lived in New Street in Henley in the Nineties while they brought up their son Ross, now 30.
Mrs Adams said: “It is a shame because Henley is our home. It’s very, very sad.”
The Crown shut in July last year just 11 months after landlords Sean and Vanessa Arnett took it over.
At the time, Tom Davies, chief executive of Brakspear, said: “A pub like the Crown is definitely difficult to keep afloat. There is not the same level of foot traffic and there is competition from the refurbished White Hart in Nettlebed.”
Mr Arnett, who had more than a decade of experience in the licensing trade, admitted it was difficult to make money from a pub.
Before the Arnetts moved in, the pub had been closed for six months following the departure of the previous landlord.