A DEFIANT landlord has shrugged off all the doom and gloom in the pub industry and opened a new free house in Longwood.
Businessman Keith Vear has thrown open the doors of The Old Cask Inn on Leymoor Road – for the first time since it shut in August.
The pub, formerly known as The Albert, was one of dozens of Huddersfield pubs to fall by the wayside over the past few years.
Keith, from Golcar, who already runs two pubs in Kirklees and one in Calderdale said the re-launched pub was his first free-house and said he was determined to keep the good old local on the map.
He said: “I’ve been in the pub trade for such a long time and I’m sick of pubs shutting down.
“I just wanted to revamp a never to be opened again pub.
“Free-houses are definitely the way to go.
“Pub companies are killing the trade.
“They are not encouraging decent landlords to get involved.
“They are too greedy.”
And Keith poured cold water on the notion that there were too many pubs around.
He said: “In town centres perhaps there are too many but from a local point of view, no.
“You need to have a choice and support your local pub.
“It’s in our history.
“The Government should stop doing things to kill the pub trade.
“The smoking ban, we’re taxed to the hilt, we just don’t seem to be getting any support.
“Fruit machine licences seem to be going up and up. Everything just seems to be taxed.”
Keith said his latest venture would appeal to everyone – but especially to mature drinkers as they were not selling run-of-the-mill brands and were offering hand-pulled beers from £2 and bottles of wine from £6.50.
He added: “We want the drinkers and the couples.
“It’s a traditional pub with stone floors and two open fireplaces.
“Customer satisfaction is our priority – a good atmosphere and a perfect pint.”
Pubs have been struggling for many years, but the death of the local was finally confirmed in figures released by the Government last month.
The survey of pubs closed by electoral constituency revealed that between 2005 and 2007 they were going to the wall at a rate of 12 per week across the UK.
But after the smoking ban began in July 2007 the decline accelerated to 35 per week, bringing the average up to 22 per week since the survey began in June 2005.
The figures, collected by Beer Group chairman John Grogan MP with the support of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) are now being studied as officials wrack their brains to find ways to help to the country’s struggling landlords.