Express & Star

Lifeline for historic Ma Pardoes pub after landlord's 'closed by Christmas' warning

The Campaign for Real Ale has offered its help to the landlord of Netherton's famous Ma Pardoes to help keep the pub going.

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Head brewer Paul Cooksey, and licensee Tim Newey outside The Old Swan in Netherton. They've warned the pub may not be around by Christmas due to rising costs and falling customer numbers.

The national chairman of the organisation, Nik Antona, is a former regular of the pub in Halesowen Road, the real name of which is The Old Swan, and has stepped forward after the landlord said the pub could 'close before Christmas'.

The Dudley and South Staffordshire branch of Camra is also working with licensee Tim Newey to help turn around its fortunes. It has been told the pub is only selling half the volume of beer it did before the coronavirus lockdowns.

Branch chairman Stu Betts said: "We have to work to get local people behind the pub again."

"We need to act before it closes. It is going to be a very long winter for a lot of pubs," he added.

The branch is hoping to appoint a pubs preservation officer to work with Mr Newey and campaign to keep any other real ale pubs that get into difficulties.

It has also approached Dudley Council to ask it to re-assess the rates for the pub as a matter of urgency.

Mr Newey has been waiting since November last year for a review.

He has said the pub, which first opened in 1835, was facing continually rising overheads and falling numbers of customers. It recently had a 60 per cent increase in rates.

Mr Newey, who also faces paying back a £50,000 Covid Bounce Back Loan, fears that the Old Swan, which also has its own brewery, may not still be open by Christmas if things don't improve.

“Nothing is set in stone, but we are doing our very best. We just haven’t got the customers we used to," he said earlier this week.

“The overheads are increasing as time goes. We haven’t really had any help with the rent, no help with the rates, we made an application for a rates review in November which is still ongoing.

"If things don’t improve drastically, then we won’t be around by Christmas.”

Camra has also approached Star Bars and Bars which leases the pub to ask it to consider a rent reduction to help keep Ma Paredoes going