Fail­ure of wine bar sees col­lapse of pub busi­ness £360,000 tax debts lead to liquidation of land­lord’s com­pany

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Tam­lyn Jones Busi­ness Cor­re­spon­dent

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

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