A COUPLE who ploughed £50,000 into a failing pub have ended up living in a caravan.
Paul Corrigan and Georgina Nixon closed the Rose and Crown at Thurstonland on Sunday, 18 months after they took it over.
Their turnover dropped from £7,000 a week to less than half that.
Their possessions are in storage while they live in a caravan in the Lake District and try to rebuild their lives.
Mr Corrigan, 51, said: “I’m gutted.
“We invested £50,000 of our own money and have lost every penny.”
The pub, owned by Enterprise Inns, had been closed for several months before the couple took it over.
They had planning permission to convert some of the top floor into bed and breakfast rooms.
Mr Corrigan said: “Thurstonland has a school and a church. It used to have a post office, but that closed about two years ago.
“At the same time the pub closed and the village became nothing.
“We could see it had potential. It’s in a very nice setting and in an affluent area. It used to do very well.
“We took it over and built it back up into a thriving business.
“We had quite a successful food part of the business and sold 120 meals one Friday night. This year we were lucky to do 25.”
Mr Corrigan said the rising cost of living, rising costs, the smoking ban and the credit crunch had all had an impact.
“The first thing people cut down on is going to the pub,” he said.
“Since Christmas we have been taking 50% less than a year ago.”
But he also blamed Enterprise Inns, which he said had failed to renovate the B and B rooms as quickly as it would.
He said the company also rejected his pleas for help.
He added: “We were going to rely on the B and B to bring in the income and when we opened we actually got quite a lot of bookings.
“but unfortunately that was only three weeks ago and business was already going downhill. It was too late.
“We told Enterprise we were struggling and needed some help; they didn’t come forward with any. If we were late paying bills we would get threatening phone calls.
“They could have put a hold on the rent or given us a discount until we managed to get business back up.
“If we didn’t pay bills on time they wouldn’t deliver the beer and when they did deliver it they would charge us for carriage.
“Instead of helping us they were making it worse.”
Enterprise Inns contacted the pub on Friday, July 11, to say bailiffs would be sent in unless the couple settled outstanding bills.
Mr Corrigan and Ms Nixon took the decision to shut over that weekend.
An Enterprise spokeswoman said relations between the company and licensees were confidential.
She added: “We aim to reopen the pub with a new retailer as soon as possible.”