Locals take to online activism, enraged over sudden pub closure

By Isobel Rix and Beatriz Ferreira

Pub-goers devastated at the sudden closure of The Clarendon in Leicester have launched a Facebook campaign to try to save it.

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The Facebook page ‘Save the Clarendon Pub’ has already accumulated 410 members and an additional page ‘Save the Clarendon – latest news’ has acquired 72 likes, all with a vested interest in saving their beloved local.

The Clarendon unexpectedly closed towards the end of October – the latest in a string of pubs to shut down in the city in recent years.

It is heralded by many as having been a traditional, welcoming and friendly pub, popular in the area with many sharing their fond memories of the establishment.

Meryl Lynn Holohan posted on The Clarendon pub Facebook page: “I remember it from when I lived in Montague Rd where I was born, I used to sit in the yard with my brother. Recently been, still a good atmosphere and still fond memories.”

John Ellison also posted: “I’ve returned here after a year or two away, it’s like coming home. Great traditional pub, friendly, relaxed and a decent pint. What more could you want really?”

The closure and launch of the Facebook page has sparked a lot of comments on social media, with some suggesting the pub’s owners, the Ei Group, formerly Enterprise Inns, had caused its closure through unfair pressures on the tenant landlords.

Jane Whiting, one of the administrators of the Facebook page, ‘Save the Clarendon Pub’ said: “We are planning future actions and intend to fight back.”

The group is discussing the possibility of boycotting Ei Group pubs and there is some have discussed the possibilities of applying to register the pub as an ACV (Asset of Community Value).

Jane claimed the pub closed “because the contract is set in a way that the more profit made, the more they’re [the tenants] forced to pay. But if the profit decreases, they’re forced to pay the same.”

A spokesperson for Ei issued a statement to the Leicestershire Press. It said: “We can confirm that the leaseholder for the Clarendon, Leicester, has taken the decision to close the pub. We would like to reassure members of the local community that we aim to reopen this pub as soon as possible.”

Leicester has lost more than one in ten of its pubs since 2010, according to official figures from the Office for National Statistics.

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