THE HUSBAND and wife team behind Brighton and Hove’s first micropub have suffered a major blow to their plans – but say the project is still alive.

Hove couples Rick and Ruth Evans and Dave and Ali White have had their idea to convert the York House Wines off-licence in Richardson Road into the city’s first micropub scuppered by the site’s current owner.

The micropub proposers have been told by the shop’s current owner that he is no longer prepared to leave the site.

The couples were granted planning permission in May to convert the shop into the city’s first pub of its kind.

The back-to-basics pub proposal would see customers served real ale, local ciders and wine in a pub without music, quiz machines or a bar.

The couples were looking to open from midday to 2pm and 5pm to 9pm, with later openings on Friday and Saturday nights to 11pm.

Other members of the micropub scene in the county include the Anchored in Worthing and the Old Star Inn in Shoreham High Street, which is set to open in a couple of months.

The Richardson Road team have now been forced to look elsewhere for a new site in nearby Portland Road and Stirling Place.

They say that the U-turn has cost them most of the £2,000 they have invested in drawing up a planning application and producing a marketing report.

Mr Evans said: “After we got planning permission, it went a bit quiet and we didn’t hear anything from the current leaseholder and then he told us that he didn’t want to sell the business.

“Now we are back to square one. We are looking at other premises but we are struggling to find anywhere that is as nice. We are still determined. It’s something we really want to do.”