Jubilation after pub wins battle over rent hike

Landlady of the Pattenmakers Arms, Claire Muldoon
Landlady of the Pattenmakers Arms, Claire Muldoon

Bar staff and regulars at a Duffield pub have won their battle against a crippling rent hike - after owners Enterprise Inns decided to back down.

Drinkers at the Pattenmakers Arms were told this week that Enterprise had dropped plans to increase rent by 42 per cent.

Their plight was raised in the House of Commons by an MP and even went as high as Business Secretary Vince Cable, who described it as an “awful case”.

However, after staging a public meeting and months of legal battles Enterprise has agreed not to raise the rent and has also offered delighted landlady Claire Muldoon a discount on real ales.

Barmaid at the pub, Emily Bowler, said: “We never thought we would win. We still can’t believe it.

“We are lucky to have had great support from the community – 1,500 signatures on our petition speaks for itself and people supported us at a public meeting on a weekday in the pouring rain.

“We haven’t seen the official lease yet, but it will be for five years and we have had discount on our barrels.

“We would be glad to support any pub that finds themselves in a similar position to us. It’s been a painful process.”

Ms Muldoon, who has run the Pattenmakers, in Crown Street, Duffield, since 2006 said the increase would have left her with less than £10,000 in take-home pay annually and claimed that would have run her out of business.

More than 80 people packed a public meeting at the village’s Weston Centre to support her plight.

The meeting came in the same week that the Derby branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) gave the Pattenmakers Arms the title of country pub of the year.

A spokesman from Enterprise Inns said: “We are pleased to have come to an agreement in principle with Mrs Muldoon and look forward to her continued stewardship at The Pattenmakers.

“The circumstances of this case have been drawn out and complicated due to the intervention of certain third parties and the months of misrepresentation and misinformation that followed.

“Our expressed wish has always been for the Pattenmakers to remain at the heart of its local community and, with Mrs Muldoon’s acceptance of terms for a new tenancy agreement, we are confident that this will be assured.”

The pub is planning to hold a party to thank regulars for their support and the signing of the new lease on Saturday, April 12.