Last orders at Bognor Regis pub as rent rises

The Alex pub in Bognor Regis town centre
The Alex pub in Bognor Regis town centre

REGULARS packed a unique pub in Bognor Regis to say goodbye to its licensee and his family.

The Alex is the only traditional pub in the town centre. It was crowded on Sunday with some 150 wellwishers for the farewell to Martin Borrill and his wife, Janet Borrill, and daughter, Lucy Borrill.

They left the London Road premises on Monday as the bailiffs moved in.

Mr Borrill, 76, said pub owner Enterprise Inns wanted too much rent.

“They are probably the worst company you can be a tenant for. They are estate agents really rather than pub landlords,” he said.

The firm had raised the rent on the premises from £38,500 to £40,000 a year in the 11 years the family had run them. They also had to find £12,000 in business rates and council tax to Arun District Council plus £600 a month for fuel bills.

“Since we’ve had bands here on Friday and Saturday nights, takings have gone up,” he said. “But not sufficiently to cover our outgoings. That’s the problem.”

The live music events attracted 80 people a time, said Mr Borrill. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to the pub. It’s a lovely pub. I hope it survives.”

The Alex dates from 1864 and is renowned for its cask ales.

Local residents have requested Campaign for Real Ale group Camra to have the pub listed as an asset of community value to protect its use.

The Alex is described by Enterprise Inns as a traditional one bar pub with seating for approximately 50 covers.

There is a cosy snug area that is slightly separate from the main bar area, which offers guests a comfortable place to enjoy their drinks. It has a patio for 12 guests.

Enterprise is searching for an experienced publician to extend the range of cask ales and update the offering while the welcoming and social feel of the pub is maintained. It also believes there is scope to offer brunch and coffee.

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