ST IVES’S Robin Hood pub is set to close this weekend, having fallen victim to a combination of cheap out-of-town food and increased rates and parking charges.

Golden Lion owner Michael Purchas rode to the rescue of the ailing alehouse, also in Market Hill, late last year, but even he could not stanch the Robin Hood's losses.

He has decided to close the business for the time being, take his time over 're-modelling' it and re-open in due course, presumably aiming for a different market.

Mr Purchas, a civil engineer who was a key figure in the successful renovation and re-opening of the town's 19th century Corn Exchange two years ago, told The Hunts Post yesterday (Tuesday): "It's losing too much money. We have just been hit with massive rate increases and car parking charges, which haven't helped businesses at all."

He is also critical of Huntingdonshire District Council planners for allowing - against the advice of St Ives Town Council - the building of the new Marsh Harrier pub outside the town centre on Needingworth Road.

"The Robin Hood traded as a two-for-one food venue, and the Marsh Harrier has affected that considerably," he said.

It is thought that there has been a pub on the site of the listed Robin Hood since at least the early 18th century.

"It's a nice building with lots of potential," Mr Purchas said. "But we've got to get the remodelling right, and that takes time. The conservation people at HDC have been quite positive.

"If any of your readers have any ideas, I'd be glad to hear them," he added.

CONTACT: Readers will suggestions for a future use for the building can contact Mr Purchas through the Golden Lion Hotel, Market Hill, St Ives PE27 5AL. Telephone 01480 492100.