Failure of wine bar sees collapse of pub business £360,000 tax debts lead to liquidation of landlord’s company
ABIRMINGHAM pub company run by an award-winning landlord has gone into liquidation amid tax debts of more than £360,000.
The Humble Pub Company was owned by Keith Marsden, who previously ran the Prince of Wales and The Dark Horse, in Moseley, and The British Oak, in Stirchley, along with a short-lived wine bar called Cheval Blanc.
At the High Court HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) told Insolvency and Companies Court Judge Catherine Addy that the Humble Pub Company went into creditors’ voluntary liquidation on June 7.
Mr Marsden, 57, said the company had been hit by the failure of Cheval Blanc, which opened next door to The Dark Horse, in Alcester Road, Moseley, but was put up for sale just a year after launching.
It has since closed down and been replaced by the Little Blackwood restaurant.
Mr Marsden said: “The wine bar we opened in Moseley cost us quite a lot of money. This sector is going through a tough time at the moment with lots of pubs and restaurants closing down and this has been quite a difficult 12 months for the business. The court hearing was just HMRC going through its processes and this ruling does not impact any of our companies.
“It is business as usual at the three pubs and they are trading as normal.”
HMRC had lodged a petition with the court seeking to have the company wound up over tax debts but, on the basis of the voluntary liquida- tion, counsel for HMRC asked for its petition for it to be wound up to be dismissed without costs. The judge agreed and made that order.
It was revealed after the hearing that the Humble Pub Company owed £364,177 in tax.
Mr Marsden added: “We tried to find ways to pay HMRC back but I’m afraid they weren’t very co-operative.
“HMRC may get some of the money back but that is between them and the liquidator.”
He said that he had decided to retire from the pub business after a period of ill health and his focus was now on recovery, leaving his son Joe to run the Prince of Wales, The Dark Horse and The British Oak.
Mr Marsden launched The Humble Pub Company in 2016 when he revealed plans for a £650,000 renovation project at The British Oak in Pershore Road.
The scheme breathed new life into the pub and longer-term there were plans for a new micobrewery on the site but this is yet to get off the ground.
He and his wife were voted the UK’s Licensees of the Year in 2015 by the British Institute of Innkeeping.
> Keith Marsden, of the Humble Pub Company, said it’s business as usual at his other pubs like the Prince of Wales