Black day for the Bull

The Black Bull in Thornton Square which has closed
The Black Bull in Thornton Square which has closed

BRIGHOUSE landlord Chris Davies has spoken of his heartbreak at having to walk away from the pub he loved.

The Black Bull in Thornton Square has not opened since Tuesday and ‘closed until further notice’ signs have gone up in the windows. Rumours have been circulating since before Christmas that the landmark pub was on the verge of closure.

Chris, who took over as landlord in 2008, said it had been a very difficult time for the licensed trade, made worse by December’s treacherous weather.

“All I asked for from Enterprise Inns was a little more time to sort things out and for trade to pick up. But they wouldn’t give me that and they called the bailiffs in. I’ve had to walk away from my home and my livelihood,” he said.

“They say I owe them more than £6,000 but they owe me at least that amount. Like many pub companies today, Enterprise are just greedy. They would rather see the pub shut and not making any money than give me time to turn things round and bring in some income. They’re not bothered about the well-being of people who work for them or in helping them out.

“We managed to get our belongings out but it’s been a very difficult time. The business rates imposed by Calderdale Council have not helped but mainly it’s the fault of Enterprise Inns. We are forced to buy our beer through them and they keep the prices high.”

Chris had worked at the pub for 14 years before taking over from former landlady Kath Hepworth. He introduced a number of innovations including karaoke and DJ evenings, happy hours and breakfasts in a bid to improve the business and in July 2009 the beer garden was refurbished.

The Black Bull had a reputation as one of Brighouse’s best known and most popular pubs but in recent years it has struggled to attract customers and retain business. It is one of a number of Brighouse pubs which have been going through difficult times.

n Why is the death knell being sounded for so many pubs? Tell stephen.firth@brighouseecho.co.uk