THE future is unclear for an historic town centre pub after its owners put it up for sale.
The Old Royal Oak, in Market Place, is drenched in history, having previously served as the town’s lock-up, and is reputedly home to the ghostly spectres of former inmates.
Its current owners Punch Taverns have confirmed it is now up for sale leaving its landlord and regulars upset and unsure about the future of the building as a public house.
Landlord for the last two years, Irwin Linstead, told the Mail it was a ‘real shame’ and said he was upset at how the matter had been dealt with by Punch.
He said: “It is the demise of yet another pub in Burton and it is a historic pub as well.
“I was only told 24 hours before it went on the market. I was not happy as just to drop it on me like they did was not the best way to go about it.
“I think with a bit of patience it could be brought back into being a viable business.
“I am well upset – not just for me but I have made good friends here and have a good customer base.
“The feedback from the customers has been really nice and they don’t want me to go from here.”
Mr Linstead was particularly disappointed as the pub has been making strides in recent years gaining a Cask Marque for the excellence of its beers and becoming a hub for live music.
He said: “I have been in the pub trade 30 odd years and I thought when I was asked to take on this pub I had really landed on my feet.
“It is a good local, just off the town centre and people make a point of coming here.
“I know there has already be some interest in it but there will be as it is a good pub.”
A spokesman for Burton-based Punch said: “It is always our preference that our pubs continue to trade as pubs.
“However, we do review our estate regularly and may explore other options around the future of our less sustainable sites, or where they might better fulfil their potential for the local community under different ownership.
“Following such a review, a decision has been made to put the Old Royal Oak on the open market for sale with our agents Christie & Co.”