10:05AM, Friday 11 June 2021
Landlord at Off The Tap, Toby Denney
A Maidenhead pub is on the hunt for a new town centre location following unsuccessful discussions to continue a lease at its existing site.
Off The Tap, in High Street, said that it has been informed by its owner, the Stonegate Group, that negotiations for a new tenancy beyond August 2022 will not be taken forward.
This has left landlord Toby Denney with the task of finding a new location in Maidenhead town centre, which he is aiming to take forward with more of an emphasis on the community.
Off The Tap has become a staple of Maidenhead’s hospitality offering, and Toby is confident that it will continue to serve the town’s punters, albeit via a different ownership structure.
He wants to turn the new bar into a community benefit society (CBS), which will see the business owned by the community, who buy shares, and run by a committee of directors.
Profits from the bar will then be distributed and could include supporting community outreach programmes and social issues, such as mental health awareness.
It is not yet known what will be taking over from Off The Tap when it leaves its premises next summer, but Stonegate says that it has ‘exciting plans for the pub’, with Toby expecting it to be run by a chain bar.
“It is a shame but it is within their legal right and the right decision for them – so we have go and find somewhere else,” Toby said. “We would like to stay in the town centre.
“Options are few and far between, really. We are looking for somewhere similar in size, if it had a garden area that would be amazing, although this is not feasible in a lot of places."
He added: “The support we have had from our locals and regulars has been incredible. The staff have been amazing despite having this on their shoulders at such a [difficult] time.
“It is a really nice feeling knowing how much people love the place and want to protect it.
“I really want to push with the CBS. It would be lovely to have the community benefit from the pub more than I do. It should be owned by them.
“Rather than getting annoyed about a corporate chain making a very unprofessional decision, the best route is to go and find somewhere else not working with these kind of people again.
“We are a town centre community and we intend to stay so.”
A spokesperson for Stonegate Group said: “The agreement with the incumbent tenant of Off The Tap comes to an end next year, as contractually agreed.
“We are now looking to the future of the business and have exciting plans for the pub and the community.”
To find out more about CBS, search for The Ordinary Society of Locals public group on Facebook.
Police were called to the River Thames between Cookham and Bourne End yesterday at about 3pm, to reports that a teenage boy had entered the water but hadn’t been seen to leave.