A landlord has been unable to open his pub this week after being told he will need a licence to serve drinks outside despite lockdown easing.

The St Maurice in Eggbuckland, Plymouth, has announced the 'sad news' after turfing out the previous tenants in preparation.

They will have to apply to use a licence for the outside barn area, the Plymouth Herald reports.

Pub landlord Gary Brookes "assumed" the pub would be covered under the current temporary Covid laws which allows pubs, cafes and restaurants to use outside spaces to serve customers, if they do not have a private garden or courtyard.

Mr Brookes has now applied for a licence but it won't be in place until Friday, April 23 so the St Maurice will have to remain shut until then.

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This comes after Mr Brookes served notice on the tenants of the barn in order for him to use it to serve punters food and drink.

Not everybody was happy about the pub's decision to turn 'their' barn into a drinking space.

One local, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been using the barn for the last six years as what he describes as a 'community hub'.

But two weeks ago he had to move his items out to make way for the new drinking area, and claimed he had only been given 48 hours' notice.

The Duke of Edinburgh pub in Hull observe a minutes silence during the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke of Edinburgh pub in Hull observe a minutes silence during the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh

The anonymous man said: "What we'd like to have done is had it registered as a community hub but we didn't know how to do that. Because everything has to be free and donated, we can't do it overnight. Loads of people have helped over the years.

"I really want to open it as a community workshop, eventually that was the plan. A friend of mine has rented two storage units and we've asked nicely if he would allow us more time, but he won't help us."

Mr Brookes responded to the claims and says he lent the space out of the kindness of his heart, but now needs it back to make his pub viable while Covid lockdown rules banning people from drinking inside are in place.

He said: "I met him six plus years ago. He asked me if I could use the space I had in the barn. I had some doubts about it but I'm a genuine guy myself and said yeah, no problem.

"The original agreement was that he would store stuff in there as he'd just moved from Bristol.

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"Over time he's developed it into a workshop for him and his mates to use and a bit of a social gathering space and they store their tools in.

"It's not really what I originally agreed for it to be for but it wasn't an issue to me.

"The problem is the pub has now been closed for seven out of the last 12 months and I now need that space back."