MPs meet over pub dispute

MP Pauline Latham is presented with a petition by Emily Bowler of the Pattenmakers Arms
MP Pauline Latham is presented with a petition by Emily Bowler of the Pattenmakers Arms

A landlady’s fight to keep her Duffield pub has been the subject of a high-profile meeting between MPs at Wesminster this week.

Claire Muldoon, licensee at the Pattenmakers Arms has been faced with losing the Pattenmakers Arms owing to a 42 per cent increase in her rent by her landlords Enterprise Inns.

However, the community have rallied, putting together a 1,300-strong petition and staging a public meeting in support of her plight.

Business Secretary Vince Cable described the situation as “a truly awful case” after Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham interrupted a speech he was making to talk about the plight of the Pattenmakers Arms in Duffield.

This week Mrs Latham and Dr Cable have staged a meeting to discuss the future of the pub.

Mrs Latham will soon present the petition signed by local residents in support of Mrs Muldoon to Parliament.

Pauline Latham, MP for Mid Derbyshire said:“It is clearly testament to Claire’s ability as a manager that so many have rallied around her at this difficult time.

“I am hopeful that this petition will safeguard Claire’s position and ensure that the Pattenmaker’s Arms remains at the heart of the local community in Duffield.”

The dispute comes at a time when the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is contemplating measures to regulate large pub companies.

The current suggestion is that an adjudicator should be appointed to mediate in disputes between landlords and tie-tenants, and ensure that pub companies behave equitably towards their tenants.

The GMB union, which represents pub tenants, believes that Enterprise Inns has breached guidelines laid down by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and broken its own code of practice in calculating the new Pattenmakers deal.

It is an accusation denied by Enterprise Inns.

A spokesman for the company said: “Mrs Muldoon’s five year lease will shortly expire and, as was agreed with the landlady at the start of her tenancy, the pub is now available for offers in the open market – including from Mrs Muldoon.

“The terms on offer to Mrs Muldoon reflect current market conditions and include significantly greater barrelage discounts than were previously available.

“We have explained the facts to Pauline Latham MP and having sought to engage with Mrs Muldoon we will continue to do so.”