Last orders as pub prepares to close its doors

Last orders as pub prepares to close its doors

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Landlords Tony and Lea-Ann are leaving the Britannia Inn in Truro.

28th April 2021

By Kirstie Newton

One of Truro’s oldest pubs looks set to close its doors in July following the shock news of its sale.

The Britannia Inn, on the corner of Quay Street and Morlaix Avenue, was built in 1752 and is a listed building. Tony and Lea-Ann Sobey have been landlords for 15 years, during which time they have built up a loyal following in the darts-playing community.

Lea-Ann announced the news via Facebook on Friday: “Dear friends and loyal customers, it is with a heavy heart that we have to announce that we will be closing the Britannia Inn Truro on July 10, 2021.

“This has happened much sooner than we anticipated, as the brewery has decided to sell the building and will not be renewing our lease. This really will be the end of an era, with over 40 years of being both customers and landlord/ lady of this amazing pub. We have had uncountable good times and have made amazing friendships along the way. We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your custom, friendship, and loyalty.

“Last but not least, a huge thank you to all of our Brit dart players who have stuck by us for many years. It’s been a privilege to have you play for us. Each and every one of you have become like family. We will be opening briefly from May 17 until our final shift on July 10, so please come in and say your farewells – let’s go out with a bang!”

Mrs Sobey told the Truro Voice she was expecting the first viewing yesterday. “We knew our lease was due to end in July, but we were under the impression that it would be renewed on an annual basis. We were told only two weeks ago that the brewery planned to sell the pub, but did not realise it would go on sale so soon. It was the estate agents who called us to tell us.

“It was a bit unexpected, and disappointing – overwhelming, even. We are still coming to terms with it. We live on site, so we will be sofa surfing until we decide what we are going to do. It’s a bit of an upheaval, but it was sadder having to tell our customers.”

The Sobeys were customers for many years before taking on the tenancy. “Tony always said he would take it on if it came up, and of course it did,” says Lea-Ann, who also runs the Three Rivers Café opposite. The venue became a fixture on the darts circuit, with games and tournaments taking place several times a week.

Formed in 2010 with 333 pubs, Stonegate Brewery is now the largest pub owner in the UK with 4,500 sites. It acquired The Britannia from Enterprise Inns a year ago. It is now on sale through estate agent Vickery Holman at a guide price of £325,000.

Mike Easton, head of hotels and hospitality, said: “We have acted for the owners for some time in the area of pub disposal, and like many smaller pubs, the Britannia comes just below their investment criteria in terms of minimum rent per annum. As the tenants were coming to the end of their lease, it was a convenient time to sell.”

However, Mr Easton added: “It will only be sold as a pub –the client will not consider a change of use.”