Landlord upset with sale of The Lord Nelson in Morton

The landlord of a pub that is likely to be sold to commercial developers is upset he was not given more time to buy the building

John Hailey took over the tenancy of The Lord Nelson in Morton in June. Last month brewery company Marston’s, which owns the pub, said it was looking to sell and offered Mr Hailey the chance to buy it.

He was given a deadline to provide proof of funds, but Marston’s said he failed to meet it. The brewery is now negotiating a sale with Nottingham developer Saxondale.

Mr Hailey said: “The way I was treated is ridiculous.”

He said he spent £1,000 on a survey and £500 on a mortgage broker trying to get an offer in place. But he added: “Doing it in four weeks was an impossible task.”

Mr Hailey, who has lived in Morton for 30 years, said he had been told by Marston’s to vacate the pub this month.

But he added: “Saxondale said I could stay until the new year. They would rather leave me in there and not have it empty.

“The whole thing is a farce.”

The sale to Saxondale is not yet finalised and the company says a deal could be completed after Christmas.

Saxondale director Andrew Butcher said he did not object to Mr Hailey staying in the pub temporarily. But he said the matter was beyond his control as Saxondale doesn’t yet own the pub.

Marston’s did not respond when asked about when Mr Hailey had to leave the pub, but a spokesman said: “The tenant did join us in June knowing perfectly well that the pub was on the market. He was given an opportunity to buy the property, however he did not provide the necessary proof of funds by the required date.”

Saxondale held a public exhibition on October 15 where plans to convert The Lord Nelson into a convenience store on behalf of The Co-operative were revealed.

According to minutes from the Morton and Hanthorpe Parish Council meeting of October 24, about 40 villagers were present.

Some raised concerns about the situation Mr Hailey had been put in. Others pointed out that Lincolnshire Co-operative was demolishing The King’s Head pub over the road to make way for another convenience store.

Lincolnshire Co-operative has yet to submit a planning application for the King’s Head site but the pub, which had been vacant since a suspected arson attack in 2007, has now been demolished.