The Mill is set to reopen this month. A late 18th century pub originally called the Hazard Arms, the grade II listed building is owned by the University of Cambridge. The pub is now advertising for staff and describes itself as ‘primarily a wet-led operation’ that’s ‘opening end of May’.
In August last year letting agent Everard Cole were inviting offers in the region of £50,000 per annum for the free of tie lease. In February a lease was agreed with newly formed pubco City Pub Company and it was announced a “substantial investment” was planned and a “new layout Mill will open in time for Summer 2012”. The City Pub Company is a venture by Clive Watson, David Bruce, founder of the Firkin Pub chain which previously ran the Fresher Firkin brewpub in Cambridge, and John Roberts, former MD of Fuller’s. According to the Independent “They intend to take over and improve struggling pubs, then sell them on. The pair sold their last venture, The Capital Pub Company, to Greene King”
The pubco has so far taken on at least three pubs across the country and took ‘valuation advice’ from Humberts Leisure when purchasing its first pub the Cork, Bath. Humberts Leisure are the consultancy that Cambridge City Council paid over £19,000 in February to “review development laws and previous planning decisions, and analyse … the influence of big pub companies.” Humberts Leisure also advises investors
“who simply wish to take a rental income with no other involvement. The publican would enter into a lease for a term of say 25 years… he would be expected to remain in the business for 2-3 years… after that he may have a second bite at the cherry by selling his leasehold interest”
Great to see the Mill will reopen as a pub, hard to believe that it’s anything more than a short term interest for the pubco.
Update: June 2012
The pub reopened on June 1st after refurbishments (costing £250,000 apparently). When we visited their was a good choice of well kept beers, including Black Isle Porter as a regular. Despite my cynicism about the long term future of the pub, it has been much improved and it’s pleasing to see this freehouse up and running again, especially as it occupies such a great spot by the river.