Palmers Green

Burrowes takes up The Woodman’s cause

Enfield MP David Burrowes has raised the issue of The Woodman and tenanted pubs in general with Ministers following local dismay at the pub’s closure.

The Woodman closed its doors just a few days after the Olympic torch passed by at the end of July. Since then it has been open for the odd evening to run down stock, while negotiations continue with the brewery, Marstons.

The Woodman is the oldest pub continuously occupying the same building in Palmers Green, and began life in 1727 as a pair of cottages. It has been a pub since 1868. There is more on the history of our pubs, old, new, and now lost, at

Community Uncategorized

Woodman: breweries’ policies come under scrutiny

There seems to be no new news on the fate of The Woodman.

Over 350 people have now signed the petition (have you? – see sidebar). According to discussions on the Woodman’s Facebook account and recent emails from the brewery to local residents, it seems that discussions are still on-going.

Meanwhile the issue of the closure or otherwise of The Woodman , and the general policy of the breweries towards their tenants is becoming a hot topic in the local press. In this week’s Enfield Gazette and Advertiser, Mark Leaver from Winchmore Hill writes of the experiences of his family when they ran the Salisbury Arms. At that time new rent was negotiated every three years and an acceptable figure was agreed by both parties. The breweries were fair in in what the charged for their products, so in turn an affordable price was charged to customers – result, the pubs were able to survive as viable businesses.

Now, he explains,

“tenants are tied to buying draught beer, cider, all bottle of wine, spirits and minerals from their respective landlords at grossly inflated prices…. As a free trader you can buy 11 gallons of lager for £95, as a tenant you will have to pay £200 for the same barrel.

“As a tenant you have to pay rent. As a rule of thumb your rent is approximately 10-12% of turnover. But as pubs struggle and takings reduce, your rent [to the brewery] doesn’t.

If you contact your business development manager trying to negotiate more reasonable prices, you are told that it is bad management on your part. How far from the truth that is.”

Solving it isn’t rocket science says Lever. It simply takes political will: Supermarket prices of alcohol should be regulated and the prices breweries are allowed to charge tenant should be capped.

“The price of drinks would be reduced, bringing a tenanted house in line with the pub companies’ own managed houses and encouraging the return of customers, which in turn would directly kick start the survival of the great British pub.”

We aren’t sure about the stance of local MPs on this issue.

Emails sent to David Burrowes ( more than three weeks ago have yet to receive an acknowledgement. Mr Burrowes may very reasonably feel that he can’t get involved in the specific issues surrounding The Woodman, or indeed the other two local pubs which have closed this year (The Willow, Winchmore Hill Road and the White Hart, Chase Road).

But we hope he might have some interest in the way in which policies of breweries impact on his constituency and others up and down the country.


Still hope for The Woodman

Curtains were closed at The Woodman this afternoon, while local residents continued to campaign to persuade owner Marston’s brewery to reconsider closure.

We understand that the pub officially closed last weekend, but has been open a couple of evenings since to run down stock.

Campaigners on the pub’s Facebook page  have blamed the closure  on Marston’s anti competitive business practices –  in which landlords are encouraged to invest and become increasingly indebted to the brewery – combined with high rents and beer tariffs for the beer which landlords are obliged to buy from the brewery and the effects of the current economic climate.

A petition was launched on Sunday when publican of the Queen’s Head, Sue Ritchie posted news of the pub’s closure on the Love your Doorstep Facebook group – the second recent closure in the area. Love your Doorstep went into action and set up the petition. Over 200 people have signed in the first week  – and over 80 Palmers Greeners have already clicked on the story on this site in the last few days. We have also contacted David Burrowes MP and local residents associations in the hope that they will offer support.

This week the Enfield Gazette contacted a spokesman from Marstons who stated that they had been working with the tenants for some time to resolve issues with the business but these had yet to reach successful resolution. However, they continued to ‘hope that we can reach a resolution with the tenants of The Woodman.’

Local residents are being encouraged to write directly to Ralph Finlay, Chief Executive at Marstons.  (Marstons website states that it is ‘at the heart of thriving communities across the UK’ ). 

Meanwhile, if you haven’t signed the petition, please do it now, and tell your friends and neighbours. There is a link on the right hand sidebar of this site.