I’m paying the price for previous mistakes, says pub landlady

DEFIANT: Red Lion landlady Rachel Davis said she hopes to put the last few months behind her and continue building the business.

DEFIANT: Red Lion landlady Rachel Davis said she hopes to put the last few months behind her and continue building the business.

A landlady has hit back at claims of mismanagement and problems with crime, saying her pub is at the heart of the community.

The Red Lion in Bildeston was recently subjected to a series of conditions by a licensing review panel following accusations of drunkenness and anti-social behaviour.

Speaking this week, landlady Rachel Davis said that each of the conditions imposed by Babergh District Council had been fulfilled before the review was brought.

The 25-year-old said the only reason the case ever went to review was because she was not able to put in CCTV on cost grounds, but everything else had been complied with.

This included a detailed set of records for incidents of crime and drugs use and the creation of a drugs policy.

“I am paying for the mistakes of previous licensees,” said Miss Davis. “I’m trying to build a reputation as a good pub – I don’t think that’s being recognised.

“Just because bad people came here in the past doesn’t mean it’s still a bad pub.”

Miss Davis felt it was impossible to prevent all crime from taking place.

“As long as you own a pub, incidents are always going to happen,” she said. “As long as you handle these well, and I think I do, it’s not a problem.

“I put my foot down, I don’t stand for that. I am trying to run a business, I am not going to let people ruin that.

“I don’t think one incident in nine months is bad.”

Miss Davis has decided to put the review behind her and get back to running her first business.

“I hope we can move on,” she said. “Now the pub is running smoothly, hopefully people can just let me get on with it.

“It’s a tough business to be in, I know I am young but you have to start somewhere.

“I am happy to ask for help, I am not against that – I am happy to learn and I have spoken to the licensing team.

“Everyone knows that four years ago this pub was in a bad way, with not the right people.”

Miss Davis said the review and the subsequent bad press had led to a band, that had been regular performers, cancelling a show the day before.

“They didn’t want to get a bad reputation,” she said. “Our customers feel like they are being targeted, too.”

Attempting to improve a pub that she admits in the past had a poor reputation, Miss Davis has spent thousands on a new floor in the main bar area, putting in a children’s play area and refurbishing the kitchen to start serving food.

Customers in the pub said that before Miss Davis, the pub was not properly looked after and was often closed.




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