A young landlord who has taken the helm of a village pub at the age of just 23 and brought it back to life has been left counting the cost following months of the on-off closure of Branston Road.
Adam Slater became landlord of The Horseshoe Inn, Tatenhill, on June 15, with the aim of restoring the community's confidence in their local watering hole. He took it on when Branston Road was first closed amid hopes it would be opening again soon allowing people to once again get to the pub easily.
But the road was shut again after briefly re-opening and will now be closed again until the beginning of December, as the busiest time of year approaches for pubs and restaurants.
Branston Road will now be shut again for another four months between January 2 and May 15, 2018 as part of a continuing on-off closure over 12 months to allow work on a new road layout for the opening of a new £30 million secondary school in September 2018.
Since taking over the pub Adam said he had seen confidence return to the village pub which had seen nine landlords come and go in recent times.
He said he was seeing new faces among the customers all the time but was still losing a substantial amount of money due to access problems and the lack of passing trade.
Branston Road was due to be closed until next week but now the date has been put back again until December 6 after the discovery of a telecoms cable located within the new drainage works.
The 23-year-old, thought to be the youngest landlord in the area, said: "It has always been known for having good food and great beer but a lot of people lost confidence in it. A lot of people also came from the Burton area as it is a pub you have to travel to and we used to get a lot of passing trade.
"I have been working to get some of the villagers back in the pub and a lot have started coming again. It is slowly working and I am getting a lot of support from the village.
"However, it is a struggle at the minute. I run the pub and pay the wages, I manage it for Marston's but if I am not getting the trade then I cannot afford to pay the staff.
"It is just me working on my own with a chef a lot of the time as I cannot afford to pay the staff. It is not a problem but if I am working the bar I cannot focus on the business side of things. I really need to focus on the business side and the marketing to keep pushing the business.
"It is hard to say the pub is going to close as Marston's keep pubs going as long as they can. My position is that if it keeps going I will not be able to run the business and I will have to leave, which I really don't want to do."
Adam was the assistant manager of the pub for two years before taking over as landlord so he knew the scale of the task ahead.
But with Christmas now approaching he says he cannot afford to get the staf he will need for Christmas Day and train up ready for the festive rush. He has spoken with Staffordshire County Council to see what help is available to him and was told they could reduce the business rates, which are paid by Marston's.
Residents gathered in the pub on Wednesday, November 8, evening before heading to the village hall to voice their concerns over the continuing road closure.
Adam said: "I was really chuffed with the turnout for the meeting and saw a lot of old faces come back. It was a good turnout and we were pleased with how smoothly it ran. It was good to see people travel from places like Horninglow and Swadlincote as they are affected by the closure.
"I just want to take a good pub back to the community. It is all about word and mouth and I have been speaking to people about how things are going and we have been getting some good reviews on Tripadvisor.
"There has been different managers and a lot have tried their best but if people have had a couple of bad experiences they won't come back.
"However, things have changed, we have good quality food and we have changed everything to how it should be."
Anyone wanting to book a table can find out more by visiting www.horseshoeinnburtonontrent.co.uk or calling 01283 564913.