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Last orders at Queen's Head

PUBLISHED: 18:16 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:36 23 August 2010

Selwyn Lambert

Selwyn Lambert

A LANDLORD has been forced to quit the pub were he proposed to his wife after being crippled by expensive bills and dwindling customers. Selwyn Lambert, the former landlord of the Queens Head in The Hill, Northfleet, walked away from the job he loved on

A LANDLORD has been forced to quit the pub were he proposed to his wife after being crippled by expensive bills and dwindling customers.

Selwyn Lambert, the former landlord of the Queens Head in The Hill, Northfleet, walked away from the job he loved on Friday.

Having taken over the lease of the pub in May last year, Mr Lambert, from Knockhall Road, Greenhithe, said he could not cover costs.

He said: "It just wasn't worth carrying on. It got to the point where it wasn't economically viable to continue.

"It was about two weeks ago that we decided that we were not going to be able to carry on. It is hard to come to that realisation. We tried to think of everything we could. But nothing would work.

"My wife and I used to come in here six or seven years ago, and we even got engaged in here. One day, she happened to be surfing the internet and saw the lease on this place had come up, and we decided to go for it."

Last month the Reporter revealed that six pubs across the country were closing its doors every day.

Landlords across north Kent say a combination of factors have affected the pub industry, including the smoking ban, the low cost of alcohol in supermarkets and the economic downturn.

Today, a customer buying a pint of beer for £2.50 pays 80p in tax. In the 2008 budget, Alistair Darling announced a 9 per cent duty rise and an alcohol duty escalator, which will increase duty on beer by 2 per cent above the rate of inflation in each of the next four years.

Mr Lambert revealed he struggled to pay the £2,666 a month rent, as well as having to find money to pay for the utility bills and the maintenance of the building.

He claimed takings peaked at £5,000 a week when he took over the pub but in October and November takings nosedived, adding: "On one Friday night, we noticed there were more people behind the bar than there were customers.

"What crippled us was the rent, and the VAT but I guess the recession didn't help."

Despite selling cut-price beer, launching a curry night on a Friday and even closing during the week to cut costs he could not survive.

ed.riley@archant.co.uk

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