Last orders at The Fox Inn truckstop on A1 at
The Fox Inn truckstop by the A1 at South Witham closed its doors last night (Thursday).
The popular truckstop now has an uncertain future after the pub landlady and her staff quit the premises, unhappy about its new owners and their proposals.
Earlier this year, London-based Fox Roadside Services Ltd submitted a planning application with South Kesteven District Council to demolish the pub and nearby OK Diner and disused Abacus bus station and replace it with a service station and 40-bedroom hotel.
Landlady Sarah Cheevers launched a campaign to save the pub, attracting the support of hundreds, with her saying on social media last week that the new owners would keep the Fox open as they were‘planning big things for the old place’.
Sarah says she was offered a job as manager but she was unhappy, saying she had “not been offered a penny” for building up the business over the years. Her salary would also amount to less than the minimum wage considering the hours to be to put in.
Therefore, Sarah said she would leave, aiming to find another pub or truckstop nearby to run. The six other staff have decided to leave too.
The last shift was meant to end at 11pm last night, with people vacating the premises today.
The new owners would then re-open the pub, possibly in November, under new management.
As regulars tucked in to home-made cooking amid a roaring log fire, they pledged support, saying without Sarah and her family, they would stop going to The Fox.
Eddie Paterson, of Scunthorpe, said: “Sarah has transformed the place. It’s the best truckstop in the country. I come here every week but without Sarah and her mum Dee, there’s not a cat in hell’s chance I’ll call back.”
Carl Hickmott, of Derbyshire, said it was a ‘travesty’ Sarah and her team was leaving and agreed there was ‘not a chance’ he would return.
Derrick Appleby of Sheffield said: "This place has a great atmosphere. We have a great laugh."
Patrick Dukin of Sheffield said: "When they have gone, there won't be a decent truckstop left."
Planning agent Andrew Hodgson of the Pegasus Group said the application with South Kesteven District Council was still pending.