Offord pub launches plan to offset losses of pandemic

The Horseshoe pub in Offord Darcy is making plans to offset the impact of the coronavirus.

The Horseshoe pub in Offord Darcy is making plans to offset the impact of the coronavirus. - Credit: Archant

An historic Offord pub has launched plans to set up guest rooms as a bid to offset the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the business.

The Horseshoe Inn, in Offord Darcy, has told planners it believes its customer base will be “drastically reduced” because of the safety measures it has had to put in place on re-opening and that diversifying business with multiple revenue sources was the only way forward.

Plans to change the use of the first floor living accommodation into letting/guest rooms have been submitted to Huntingdonshire District Council, together with an application to replace existing doors with oak fire doors.

The listed pub, which is known for its Sunday lunches, has reopened from Wednesday to Sunday after the enforced lockdown, and has put table booking and one way systems in place for customers.

Its application for planning permission said: “The government-directed closedown because of Covid-19 changes everything. Since March 19...this business has had zero revenues.

“On re-opening it is believed the previous customer base will be drastically reduced. Social distancing and the required precautions for Covid-19 will mean this 100 seater restaurant will become a 35-40 seater restaurant with the proportionate reduction in revenues relative to previously.”

The application said that if it lost revenue streams, including the proposed accommodation, it would be at risk of closure: “To save the business and try to develop it into a viable revenue flow going forward there has to be a strategy of multiple revenue sources. So - restaurant, takeaway food, table service bar and now accommodation.

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“Without accommodation revenues, or indeed any of the revenue streams, the business would be at risk of total closedown.”

There have been warnings that a substantial number of pubs and eateries will not survive the lockdown, even though restrictions have started to lift and that pubs were able to open, with social distancing restrictions in place, from last weekend.

The Horsehoe Inn dates back to 1626, according to the planning application and was believed to have been built originally for a farm worker at the time of Oliver Cromwell. It later became a coaching stop and then a pub.