HAVING survived the challenges of being flooded three time and locked down three times, the landlord of a south Herefordshire pub admits that he and his wife have been defeated by the cost of living crisis and are reluctantly giving up the tenancy of the pub in favour of a more certain future.

William and Kasia Chambers of the Bridge Inn in Kentchurch re-opened the riverside pub in spring of 2019, following an extensive refurbishment.

In October that year the Monnow burst its banks and flooded the beer garden, terrace and kitchen, though the restaurant and bar area were unaffected.

The pub was then hit by flooding again in February of 2020 just ahead of the devastating blow dealt by Covid and the first of three lockdowns.

Landlord and Landlady of the Bridge Inn, Kentchurch


"We are incredibly positive people," says William, "and we try to keep smiling, but it's (the rising cost of produce and utilities) just one challenge too many. Basically, we can't cope. Costs are through the roof – four years ago I could buy a rib-eye steak for £4.60, now it's £7.65. I have to put the price up, and customers can't afford to go out.

"It's nuts, and everyone's in this position right now."

My weekly shop for my family (William and Kasia welcomed baby Nel a year ago) has doubled. It's the final nail in the coffin. When you look at the net figures it just doesn't make sense."

He adds that the absolute killer is the 20 per cent VAT on hospitality.

"But you can't get VAT back on any of the raw produce."

Bridge Inn, Kentchurch, Herefordshire. Picture: Bridge Inn.

Bridge Inn, Kentchurch, Herefordshire. Picture: Bridge Inn.

"I'm a publican who works 80 hours a week in a successful pub and I cannot afford to buy a loaf of bread for my daughter. I'd have to do double the business, and we're already doing four times the business the previous landlord did."


William believes that he and Kasia would eventually catch up with themselves, "but this has done us in".

There are, says William, a couple of people interested in taking over, and he does not plan to leave until there is a new tenant. "It could be months, but I'm hoping for weeks."

He now plans to get a 9 to 5 job – "I will do anything that keeps me at home."