Duke former landlord says why he went

The Duke of Wellington Inn in East Keswick closed four months to the day after its official reopening night. Speaking on Trip Advisor, the most recent tenants Rachael and Peter Sowerby published a statement on why they decided to close. In it they said they decided to let everyone know why they decided ‘to move to a new location’.

The statement continues ‘Although many comments and thoughts will be towards losing out and yet another failure for The Duke, we would like people to know that it did ‘work out’ for us, we loved designing and launching a new brand, we delighted in the great reception we got for our new menu and food we were delivering. It worked well, but behind the scenes we have been arguing for the last three months with Enterprise over the long term deal.

‘Basically they gave us a short term contract with a written agreement of a ten year ‘assignable’ lease – which sits within our overall business plan for all the restaurants. There was a vote in Parliament around December that meant they were not handing out any more ‘long term’ leases. I argued and was simply met with a brick wall. I offered to buy the freehold and also made an offer for a twenty year free of tie lease. All were rejected.

‘We have had several Area Managers from Enterprise start and leave within six months and it’s been difficult to actually get any sense out of anyone. So eventually I had to draw a line in the sand and it left us little doubt that there was no long term future for us at The Duke so we pulled the plug immediately.

‘We got the feeling that Enterprise were not interested in what we were doing and rejected every attempt we made to secure a long term deal. We are relocating the restaurant and looking and two potential venues in Harrogate but will be definitely opening in Menston this October. Thank you to those customers who supported us and I can only hope that Enterprise come up with some good ideas for The Duke in the future.’