HEREFORDSHIRE’S first council-owned pub is not making enough money to pay for its mortgage, councillors revealed this week.

The Crown Inn at Dilwyn was purchased by the parish council for the asking price of £250,000 in 2012 but has since been mired by failed attempts to make it a profitable enterprise.

Three different publicans have previously had a go at running the pub and now the current managers have also handed in their resignation. Dilwyn Parish Council’s current budget statement says it has had to vastly increase council tax due to the pub making a loss for the last 18 months.

Councillor Steve Thomas, the pub representative, said: “The Crown made a trading profit of £9,567 which is an improvement on the previous year, but it is not enough at the moment to pay the mortgage in full. “We need to make an extra £175 a week profit.

“Annabel and Callum have handed in their notice which is three months, they will be due to leave on the middle of July.

“We have the responsibility to find new managers or tenants.

“In the last 12 months they’ve only sold liquid lunches. It has become crystal clear that the pub must provide food and have a more consistent opening time.

“I.e. not being shut during the afternoons and lunchtimes four days a week.”

The parish clerk said the council has had to use some of the funds put aside to redevelop the outbuildings at The Crown. But he said should the council find new tenants to pay the rent it would cover the cost of the mortgage.

Coun Thomas said: “If we can find someone who can provide good food and front of house, there is no reason why The Crown cannot only meet its commitments but also make a decent profit.

“To make a success in the near future, we need to look at tenancy rather than management.

“Because with a tenancy, it’s their business, they pay the rent which covers the mortgage and ideally we are looking for a couple. One who is a chef and one who is working front of house rather than having management and then employing a chef as that is an extra cost.

“Hopefully we will find the right people. That’s the challenge.” The press and members of the public were later kicked out of the meeting because councillors said they wanted to discuss confidential matters regarding the publicly-owned pub.