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Fears for historic Brighton pub
Fears have been raised about the future of a historic community pub which shut on a working day for the first time in its 130-year history.
The Sir Charles Napier pub in Southover Street, Brighton, was closed for four days this week as brewers Fuller’s attempted to find new temporary managers for the popular community pub.
The temporary closure is the latest in a series of blows for Hanover pubs which has seen close neighbour The Greys close and The Brighton Unity’s future left uncertain.
Replaced Regulars say problems started at the pub when popular landlord of three years Matt Wilkes left in September and was replaced by a new landlord.
Customers said there was a high staff turnover under the new management and then the Napier was shut on a Monday last month – the first time the establishment has shut its doors on a working day in 130 years, according to customers.
A sign was left on the door saying it was closed due to illness.
After closing for a couple more Mondays, a sign this week said the pub was closed because of illness and the keys were handed back to brewers Fuller’s.
The pub reopened on Friday afternoon under the temporary management of Fred Wassenaar, who is the manager of Hanover Ale House, which owns four local pubs, including the Cornerstone in Elm Grove.
Residents, however, are still worried about the long-term future of the pub.
Regular Tim Price said he had never known the Napier to have closed in 30 years before recent weeks.
He said: “We have seen a few Napier regulars wandering around Hanover wondering where to go.
“[Former landlord] Matt had the place buzzing but he couldn’t make any money.”
Regular Soly Danish said: “It’s such a shame what is happening with Hanover pubs at the moment with the Pub with No Name closed for refurbishment, the Dover Castle up for sale and the Unity which could be converted into flats.”
Ward councillor and mayor Bill Randall also raised concerns, describing the pub as a “great community meeting place”.
Mr Wassenaar said: “We got a call from Fuller’s a couple of days ago to help them out until a new manager is found.
“It could be a couple of weeks, could be a couple of months, we’re just taking it as it comes.
“We’re not planning on changing anything.”
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