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Council leader meets with pubs chain after sale of Ye Olde Red Lion

The former landlord of a popular community pub has said he is sceptical about claims the borough wants to protect the area’s watering holes.

Marc Hunter, the former landlord of Ye Olde Red Lion in Oakley Green, was responding to council leader Simon Dudley’s meeting with his former employer, pub chain Punch Taverns.

Cllr Dudley (Con, Riverside) met with Punch Taverns last week in response to the dismissal of Mr Hunter and the sale of his old pub to a developer.

After the meeting, Cllr Dudley said that the Royal Borough was committed to protecting pubs in the area.

Mr Hunter said: “I am not 100 per cent fully aligned with what the council say they are doing. The council talks a good talk, but when it comes down to it another pub closes.”

The three other pubs owned by Punch Taverns in the borough are The Foresters in Cox Green, Windsor Castle in Bath Road and the Jolly Gardeners in Old Windsor.

Cllr Dudley said that the meeting with the brewery was ‘positive’ and ‘amicable’, and although Ye Olde Red Lion has now been sold to a private property developer, he said the borough is determined to keep the other pubs open and was prepared to offer business rate relief if necessary.

He added: “We also talked about creating more pubs, with the Maidenhead Golf Course development there is going to be a big new community.

“It may be appropriate to put a new pub there – that was something Punch were very interested in.”

In response to the possibility of Punch opening another pub in the borough, Mr Hunter said: “I don’t think they should be able to run it, the only way to make a pub succeed is to make it freehold.

“Ye Olde Red Lion was a vibrant community hub, and now it is no longer a village

“We haven’t got a post office, we haven’t got a pub – we are just a road by all but name.”

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