We are not for sale!

THE owners of three local pubs have spoken out this week to quash rumours that their premises are closing down.

Derek Hart and Sinead Farrell, who own the Crown Hotel in Newton Stewart, the Galloway Inn in Wigtown and the Bladnoch Inn, have been letting customers know all week that they have no intention of closing – despite the rumour mill going into overdrive.

And Sinead told the Gazette this week that, despite a threat to the businesses before Christmas due to the reduction of licensing hours in Newton Stewart, none of the premises faces closure.

She said: “There seem to be new rumours every week, which is really no good for business. We are trying desperately to make all three of our business thrive for 2012 and yet the rumours continue to damage us.”

The popular Knights Bar at the Crown Hotel on Queen Street took a hit following the 1am closure time enforced by the licensing board last May, which gave revellers an hour less to party than those in Stranraer. The extra hour on offer up the road saw scores of people from Newton Stewart and the Machars desert their towns in favour of Stranraer.

Sinead continued: “You will see if you look on our Knights Bar Facebook page that we are trying to put a stop to local rumours.

“I can assure you that neither the Bladnoch, nor the Galloway nor the Crown are sold.”

A consultation on the licensing hours and their effect on the town is under way but Sinead feels this should have been undertaken as a matter of urgency.

She said: “We gave our submission yesterday which clearly points out that the licensing board may have acted unlawfully in taking our 2am licence away. The board hasn’t even a date set as of yet to hold its meeting where a decision on licensing hours will be made.

“We were assured that this meeting would be on 9 January – not that this was just the date for submissions to be in.

“God only knows how long it’ll be for us to get a result.

“It’s totally disgraceful as they are fully aware of how damaging it is to Newton Stewart that they have favourably left Stranraer with a 2am terminal hour.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council is now due to present the findings of its consultation in February.