The landlords of an Aldershot pub had to leave this week after nearly 30 years running the business.
The Heroes of Lucknow pub, in North Lane, closed on Monday after operator Punch Taverns sold the building last month.
It is the latest pub to suffer in Aldershot – so far this year the Prince of Wales in Ash Road has become a Sainsbury’s Local , the Beehive closed and the Garden Gate, in Church Lane East, is on the market .
Sylvia and Brian Kauppila, both 69, were landlords of the Lucknow for 29 years and lived on the site, where they raised their four children, but will now have to find somewhere else to live after claiming they were ‘messed around’ by the pub operating group.
Mrs Kauppila said: “We got a message a while ago to say the pub was up for sale and someone came and looked at it but the deal has all been done behind our backs.
“We were first told we had three months to get out then, once it had been purchased, they asked us to stay on a temporary lease, and we did, then they asked if we would be willing to get out within a month if offered some money so we said yes.
“We got out within a month but because it was a verbal contract we never got anything.
“In a sense I’m quite relieved we've left because things were getting very hard, our hands were full, but it was our family home. We've had to give up everything, really.”
However, a spokesperson for Punch Taverns said: “We have worked in close partnership with the licensees and regularly communicated our plans to put the pub on the market. They were updated at every stage of the sale and the pub was sold with a lease in place so they were protected under the Landlord and Tenant Act.”
The firm said the pub had been sold to a “private individual” but would not reveal further details. The landlady added that they had heard several rumours, including talk of it becoming a Co-op store.
The pair are staying at their daughter’s home in Farnborough until they can find somewhere to live, and Mrs Kauppila said they hope to rent somewhere or move into a council house, as they cannot get a mortgage.
Paul Cowper, chairman of the Surrey & Hants Borders branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: “Aldershot has had a lot of pubs close down recently.
“Going back to when there were a lot more army service personnel in the town, that gave the pubs business, but with more military personnel moving out, it has had a negative effect on the pubs.
“The Heroes of Lucknow has served the community for a long time and was a pub we frequented on a number of occasions.”