High Peak pub landlord “optimistic” about reopening in April

A High Peak landlord says he is “optimistic” about the steady reopening of pubs in April - thanks to “phenomenal” support from the community.

By Ben McVay
Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 12:49 pm

Rick Ellison owns four pubs - Old Hall Hotel in Hope, Peak Hotel in Castleton, Tideswell’s Anchor Inn and Buxton’s Miltons Head.

In April he hopes to begin serving customers outdoors again in-line with Government plans allowing drinking once again in the fresh air.

As part of the plans Rick is renovating the Milton as the newly renamed Milton Tap House - while applying for a licence to allow seating in Spring Gardens.

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Rick Ellison (left) with Simon Theakston, of Theakston brewery

Though he admits permission may only allow up to six tables Rick sees outdoor business in April as a way of opening up again “a month early” - before indoor meeting is once again allowed in May.

He said: “Everything the Government has announced we saw coming - they obviously didn’t want to open things up again until May.

“I’ve been doing takeaway all the way through and it’s been very difficult - things are changing daily.

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“On Sunday not a single cafe was open in the Hope Valley and I was absolutely mobbed so I had to put closed signs up as it just wasn’t safe.

“The point is there’s still plenty of people coming to the valley so you just have to make it as safe as possible.”

Thirty-six-year-old Rick admits it will be “difficult” for pubs until restrictions are completely eased in June - the month set out by the Government in announcements this week.

However he said: “I think the Government is doing the right thing by taking its time - I wouldn’t want anyone to get Covid as a result of visiting one of my pubs.”

But the landlord of 11 years added: “I feel optimistic and it will bounce back.

“The whole point of a pub is to support the community and keep it together and not enough landlords get that.

“One of the things I’ve learned over the years is if you look after the community your customers really stand by you.

“People around the High Peak have been absolutely phenomenal - some of them haven't had a takeaway in years but they’ve done it just to support me.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.