The Greyhound in Beeston set to close after business rates double

This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.

Music lovers are mourning the imminent loss of one of their favourite venues in Beeston.

The Greyhound, a popular haunt for live rock music, will shut its doors for the final time at midnight on November 6, with the landlords promising it will go out with a bang, not a whimper.

Robert Balmer and Elizabeth Johnson’s plight to restore the pub to its former glory stalled after business rates doubled from £32,000 to £64,000 a year, making it "impossible" for them to continue without going bankrupt.

They said it was with “great sadness” that they'd been forced to close 17 months after taking over the pub in High Road in the town.

Announcing the closure in a message on Facebook, they said: “We all knew from the outset back in April last year that keeping the music live here was never going to be an easy task, but with a lot of hard work, sleepless nights and amazing support from both customers and bands alike we all managed to turn things around and within the first year we were almost breaking even (no mean feat in itself).

“We could never have done this without your support so thank you everyone for your help. Unfortunately, as you are probably aware, this year our business rates were doubled from £32,000 to £64,000 a year, making it impossible for us to continue without going bankrupt.

“This was never about making a fortune for us, we just wanted to be able to cover the bills and keep the music live but it’s just not possible now.

"Sadly The Greyhound will be joining the ever increasing list of small grassroots music venues closing around the UK each week.”

The duo’s takeover in April 2016 was a last-ditch attempt to save the pub. At the time Robert, who spent ten years managing the Running Horse at Canning Circus, said: “It was the last chance for this place. If nobody was interested by April, the brewery was going to start looking at selling it.”

Robert Balmer, outside the Greyhound, when he took over last year

Robert Balmer, outside the Greyhound, when he took over last year

Elizabeth, who was on door security and a relief manager when it was run by the late Paul Slater, said: "We wanted to rescue the pub and bring it back to the life it used to have. I love my music – it’s where my heart is and I didn’t want somebody to rip it out.”

With a line-up of bands this weekend, it will be business as usual until the final day “with some amazing bands and one hell of a party”.

And the pair had this warning: “Remember, keep supporting live music venues around the country, the phrase 'use it or lose it' has never been more apt these days."

Although it might be the end for the Greyhound, they said: “Please keep an eye out for further information as the team have no intentions of calling it quits. We are at present looking for an alternative location to continue keeping the music live.”

Jamie Burns, who played there with former blues band The Idle Hands, said: “Very sad news. The Idle Hands were fortunate to be invited back to the Greyhound many times over the years.

“We made lots of friends there and enjoyed many wonderful nights thanks to the staff and the amazing fans who made the Greyhound such a fine and well respected venue. We thank you wholeheartedly and wish you all the best of luck for the future.”

Music lover Jimi Strange, 28, of Beeston, said: “I think it’s a real shame. They really do run a great music venue. We have been to see some great band there and there’s a real community built around it. I think the local council should intervene to help them stay afloat.”

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Karen Cullen, also of Beeston, said: “This is incredibly sad. Live entertainment give enormous value and joy.”

It's the second blow for live music lovers this month. Cocktail bar Tilt, in the city centre, announced it could no longer afford live blues bands.

The Post contacted Broxtowe Borough Council for a comment, but had no reply at the time of going to print.