Evicted Daventry publican closed pub because of rising cost of beer and rent

Alison Granfield stands outside The Peppermill
Alison Granfield stands outside The Peppermill

A Daventry publican and mother-of-two is being evicted from her pub after four years because she can no longer afford to run it in light of rising beer and rent prices.

As a result, 42-year-old Alison Granfield was forced to apply for a place on Daventry District Council's homeless list, but five days after finding out her application was successful the council told her it had been revoked.

Mrs Granfield had to close The Peppermill in August

Mrs Granfield had to close The Peppermill in August

Mrs Granfield notified pub company Ei Publican Partnerships in June that she would be quitting as the publican of The Peppermill on Westerburg Square, Daventry because rising beer prices and increases to her rent meant she could no longer compete with other pubs.

She had managed to keep The Peppermill open for four years but was forced to shut it in August this year and she even had to use some of her savings to pay her bills because of the money she was losing by running the pub.

She had organised a Macmillan fundraiser at the pub but was forced to cancel because she could not buy enough beer.

“I just had to stop trading. I had one member of staff and it was either pay her wages or buy a barrel of beer," she said.

The letter confirming Mrs Granfield's place on the homeless list.

The letter confirming Mrs Granfield's place on the homeless list.

Well over a dozen pubs owned by Ei Publican Partnerships alone have closed in Northamptonshire over the past seven years.

A spokesperson for Ei Publican Partnerships said: "We have been in discussions with our publican at the Peppermill, Daventry and introduced a number of initiatives to help support the business and grow trade over recent months.

"Despite this, we received our publican’s notification to cease trading in June 2017 and expect to take the site back in the coming weeks."

Last week Mrs Granfield was in court receiving a repossession order and is now awaiting written confirmation of the date she must vacate the premises.

Anticipating this would happen, Mrs Granfield applied to be put on the Daventry District Council homeless list so that she could find a new home for herself, her husband and her two sons, aged seven and 17, one of which has ADHD and ODD.

The housing options officer who assessed her case left her job on Friday, October 27 - the same day Mrs Granfield received confirmation in writing (pictured) that her application to be put on the homeless list was successful.

The assessment took a month and required Mrs Granfield to supply various paperwork to the council to prove her eligibility.

“She gave me a hug and told me everything would be all OK," said Mrs Granfield.

"She finished at 12 o’clock, I went and got the letter at quarter to 12."

Mrs Granfield thought she could now start bidding for accommodation by logging onto the online portal using her reference number, but she was unable to access it because she was yet to receive the activation code from the council.

On Wednesday, November 1 she phoned the council to say she couldn't log on to the bidding site.

"When someone rang me back from the council they said: 'You’re not getting anywhere, I wouldn’t have come to that decision and you’re not going to be housed,'" said Mrs Granfield, suggesting someone had re-evaluated her application at some point between October 27 and November 1.

“I was born in Daventry, I’ve lived here all my life, I’ve paid my taxes.

“I’ve been put on the homeless list on the Friday and then by Wednesday I'm told I’m not on it anymore.”

She added: “What’s the point in having a homeless list if you’re not actually going to house anyone that’s homeless?”

Mrs Granfield hopes to get out of the pub and into a new house before the bailiffs throw her children out on the street.

If she is evicted before finding council housing, her and her family will have nowhere to go.

"My seven-year-old keeps asking where we’re moving to because half of the furniture's gone and there are boxes everywhere," she said.

"I can't really say, can I?"

Daventry District Council’s community manager, Maria Taylor, said: "We are unable to comment on individual cases, but when someone is confirmed as homeless by the council, this will not be revoked and we have a duty to help rehouse them.

"This could be providing a social housing tenancy or, if the person is not eligible for this, we will still provide temporary accommodation and help them secure a private rental.

"Once a homelessness decision is made, additional factors then need to be taken into account before considering eligibility for a social housing tenancy, for example issues such as debt from previous tenancies, local connections and anti-social behaviour.”