A landlord who ran pubs in Corby Old Village and Brigstock has spoken of how he is ‘lost’.
Paul Falzon had been living and running The Olde Three Cocks in Brigstock and had recently taken on The White Hart in Corby.
The 54-year-old left the pubs, owned by Ei group, last week saying that he did not feel he had any other choice.
Mr Falzon signed a contract to become landlord at The Olde Three Cocks in March 2016.
Before he could open for business he spent a fortnight working on issues including electrics, cleaning and a faulty fire alarm.
Keeping the bar prices the same as the previous landlord, Mr Falzon opened up but began to lose money.
He said: “I kept the original pricing scheme for a while and I had a good set of regular customers.
“I opened the kitchen and I turned round the food hygiene rating from a three to a five star rating.
“By the end of 2016 I was drowning in debt so I had to put the prices up.”
Mr Falzon then decided to open five B&B rooms.
He said: “When I took on the pub it had no carpets in the rooms and no plaster. Three rooms were badly damaged and the bathroom had all plaster rubble all over the floor with just six old white tiles above a little sink.
“I decided to do the refurb myself of five rooms. After 24/7 work for two months I started renting the rooms.
“I slowly was catching up with bills but in May 2018 I had to have a hernia operation which unfortunately went wrong.
“This made me feel very low and I didn’t feel right for about four months so I decided to hand in my notice.”
As part of ending the lease, Ei sent a surveyor to assess any damage which might have happened to the property.
They gave Mr Falzon a list of items which had to be sorted out before his deposit of about £6,000 could be returned to him.
He said: “They sent a surveyor and I was expecting him to say don’t worry about it but they said I was responsible for windows that had been welded shut with rust. Even the locals couldn’t remember them ever opening.”
Mr Falzon changed his mind about leaving the pub and decided to stay.
In February 2019, Mr Falzon took on The Wheatsheaf in Dallington for Everards brewery but his stay was only temporary. He left the pub on June 24.
At the same time Mr Falzon says Ei offered him the chance to take over the running of The White Hart in Corby Old Village.
He said: “I took it on because it was a challenge so I was handed the keys on a temporary agreement.
“I found again a dirty pub, with lots of old wires hanging, old paint, no lights behind both bars, no flooring as the carpet had been removed and not replaced and lots of rubbish in cellar and back garden and the flat was loaded with old bits of rubbish.
“I spent about £27,000 on fixing the place and on kitchen equipment.”
Mr Falzon opened The White Hart on May 24 on a temporary agreement.
“He said: “Ei asked for a business plan and I worked on one with an accountant. In the meantime I had to look at the property and I found 120 items of damage so I spoke to my regional manager.
“I said that all I needed before I signed the contract was to have it in writing that these problems exisited. It was impossible for me to accept this damage.”
On August 21 Mr Falzon was banned from driving after being caught speeding and exceeding 12 points on his licence.
To carry on his two businesses Mr Falzon had to employ a driver to go between the two pubs.
Last Monday, September 16, Mr Falzon says he put a sign on the door saying that the pub was temporarily closed for two days because he wanted to fix the flooring.
As the building’s owners refused to agree to the exisiting faults with the property Mr Falzon says he would not sign the lease.
He said: “I’ve basically run out of money. The bailiffs came round the The Olde Three Cocks.
“I’m jobless and homeless. This is my life but I wouldn’t take on another pub.
“I’ve not had two days’ holiday in three and a half years.
“I’ve lost all my money and the deposits on both properties.
“I would like to thank all the staff of The Olde Three Cocks especially Theresa and Jodie.”
Mr Falzon says he had been returning deposits to customers for parties that had been booked.
He added: “I’m feeling angry that people are saying things about me.
“I have nothing to show for all my hard work. I’ve got no home, no work, no pubs and no partner. I’m lost at the minute.”