Lengthy road closure causes historic Milton Keynes pub to close down after 300 years of serving the community

The closure means customers struggle to get there by car
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One of the city’s most historic pubs has been forced to call time and close down permanently.

The landlords of the Crooked Billet pub in Newton Longville say lengthy road closure for the East West Rail works in the village has “proved fatal” for business.

Today they issued a statement saying the 17th century thatched pub would close with immediate effect. The building has served the community as a pub for more than 300 years.

The Crooked Billet pub in Newton Longville has announced its closureThe Crooked Billet pub in Newton Longville has announced its closure
The Crooked Billet pub in Newton Longville has announced its closure

The landlords said: “Alongside the well-publicised challenges the whole pub Industry is facing, the East West Rail Road closure in Newton Longville that started in late September and is scheduled to continue until at least early December has proved fatal for the pub.

"The road closure has effectively cut off Newton Longville from the MK side, causing an immediate and catastrophic drop in turnover and a total cessation of enquiries for the vital Christmas season (as understandably people are very concerned about being able to get to the pub).”

The statement added: “We have engaged with East West Rail directly to make them aware of the impact of this road closure on The Crooked Billet and have been told that no compensation is possible as there is an "approved diversion" in place with the local Highways Authority. So basically the turnover hit is ours to take.

“The loss of Christmas business - normally the cushion that would carry us through the beginning of next year - means that the long-term viability of the pub is too uncertain given the continuing rise in costs for product and utilities and the impending rise in business rates next April, and accordingly closure is the only option.”

The landlords said staff had been offered relocation to their other businesses where possible and The Crooked Billet had been returned to the landlords Greene King today (Wednesday).

“We are very sad to be leaving Newton Longville and are very grateful for the support of our customers and staff during 2022,” they said.

Today, however, East West Rail has offered to have a meeting with the pub landlord.

A spokesman for the East West Rail Company (EWR Co), told the Citizen: “The EWR Co team wrote to the owners of the Crooked Billet yesterday (8 Nov) to offer a sit-down meeting in the next fortnight, to discuss the situation.

"This section of the line is being delivered by East West Rail Alliance, who have specific protocols and agreements in place around compensation and will be very mindful of how public money is spent in these challenging times. However, local pubs can be a really important part of life in small communities and we want to explore the possibilities with Matt and his team at the Crooked Billet.”

The Crooked Billet was built as a farmhouse in the 1600's, using wood taken from a ship.

The farmer served ale to his farmworkers and in the 1700's the building became a village pub, with a brewhouse added in the 1800s.