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Citizens Speak: The Re-opening of The Row Barge Pub

Published on: 14 Feb, 2013
Updated on: 29 Aug, 2015

Row Barge 2 470As reported in The Guildford Dragon NEWS, there was always a possible light at the end of the tunnel for the Row Barge pub and some other reports of its complete demise were premature. But it was a close run thing and the pub is not completely out of the woods yet. The proprietors Mark and Chrissie East await a response from HMRC on their proposed rescue plan.

In the mean time, the views of its regular customers were sought after it re-opened on Monday evening (February 11).

Craig Milstead – Bellfields
Craig MisteadThe Row Barge to me is the centre of the community. I only live up the road and this pub is now the only one in the area: without it we’d be knackered. It is the only central meeting point for our community, somewhere we can meet other locals, our neighbours and so on. Also it’s a place to relax and have a game of darts. I think the government should relax some of the taxes on pubs. It only forces prices up which, in turn, forces pubs to close. But I am not sure about raising prices for alcohol in supermarkets. As a community if we want to keep this pub we should use it more, enjoy the live music or join the darts or poll team.
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Alec Williamson – Merrow
Alec WilliamsonAlthough I live in Merrow I regard this pub as my local. It’s a very relaxing place with a good range of good beer. I think it is a great place to spend leisure time. It has a superb riverside location location and it means a lot to the local community too. I knew the pub before Mark and Chrissie [East] took it over and it was awful. It is impossible to overestimate the value to the community and to Guildford as a whole. I think many pubs are closing because, for many people, it is becoming too expensive, so it becomes an occasional rather than regular thing to do. The government should reduce the beer tax and do more to support, in particular, those pubs that have a community role. I think the local community here are already doing as much as that can to support the Row Barge. It would be a crying shame if we lost it.
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Tom Hitchcock – Bellfields
Tony HitchcockThe Row Barge is the last pub in this area. It is somewhere I can meet and make friends, an important part of the community. It’s a central point for people, sometimes those you would not otherwise see, to meet and spend some time together. I think taxation is the main reason pubs are closing, plus supermarket prices for alcohol are so cheap. A lot of the younger ones buy their booze there and don’t go to pubs. The government should stop alcopops and encourage them to drink in pubs rather than at home or on the streets. They should also lower some of the taxes pubs have to pay. If the local community wants to keep this pub open they should use it more, come in and be prepared to pay a small extra price for the live music.
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Russ and Julie Hobbs – Bellfields
Russ & Julie HobbsI like the atmosphere and the staff here at the Row Barge. Mark and Chrissie are good landlords. It is always very clean and well managed. The food is excellent: we come every Saturday for lunch. It is good for live music here too, providing openings for local bands. The jam night has gone from strength to strength.There is a good community spirit, partly because Mark allows no bad behaviour. The pub means a lot to the community. It is a hub for us all and the only pub left round here; the next closest is in town. We think that some pubs are closing because of the high rents that the breweries demand. The drinking community still exists and I don’t think it is the economic climate. It might help if the government could freeze relevant taxes for a while and freeze business rates. We don’t think that there is much more that the local community can do. We already actively support the pub as best we can but we do realise that not everyone can afford it.
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Peter Bedser – Slyfield
Peter BedserI like this pub for lots of reasons. it is a real centre of the community. My son is a drummer and he comes up here on a jam night. My wife and I enjoy the live music and the beer is good. It is a real hub for the community, a meeting place. The older folk have lunches here. There are the musicians, the jazz club and beer sampling. I think so many pubs are closing because they are too reliant on beer sales. The money is in food now and providing entertainment. Of course, generally, there is not so much money going round and people are more careful where they spend it. I think that the government should try to balance more the cost of alcohol in pubs and in supermarkets. If the prices were similar more would go to pubs. The community can best support the pub by coming here more. I come once a week, either for a meal or for the live music. What has happened should be a wake up call it made us realise what we might lose. I am a member of the church and I know prayers were said for the pub in several local churches.
Andrew Ness – Bellfields
Andrew NessI like coming down here because it is an old fashioned, family orientated, pub. It is well known for its good selection of beers and the food is good. New Year was a brilliant night here and there was no trouble. Mark and Chrissie are so nice. We have had parties here and they have let us have a room to ourselves free of charge. For the community this is a place to meet up, somewhere where there is no trouble. Mark runs a very tight ship. There aren’t any punch-ups. I think that the breweries and the government are pricing pubs out of business. Supermarket booze is so cheap. It is all down to money. I think that the government should give landlords some incentive, reduce business rates and control brewery beer prices. There should be a level playing field of those selling booze. The local community here should support the pub more. We come down here three times a week. A lot of the regulars have come back now but there are still quiet nights. When it closed last week it was a real loss.

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What do you think? Why not add your views, answering the same questions asked of our interviewees:

  1. What does this pub [it could be your local pub in Guildford Borough, if another, please make it clear which] mean to you? Why do you like it?
  2. What does it mean to the local community?
  3. Why do you think so many pubs are closing these days?
  4. What do you think the government should do to help pubs?
  5. What do you think that the local community can do to keep the Row Barge open?

You can easily make your views known too. Just use the ‘Leave a Reply’ feature below to give your answers…

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test One Response to Citizens Speak: The Re-opening of The Row Barge Pub

  1. Nathon Hamilton Reply

    May 31, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Yes it’s about time the government helps pubs.

    We are losing all our local pubs, due to high taxation.

    This is not helping anyone. The government are losing revenue and we are losing jobs and also the community is losing out as well.

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