Veritas, East of Arcadia and The Horse and Farrier up for sale as Market Town Taverns sheds half its Yorkshire venues

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Three well-loved Leeds pubs have been put up for sale as the company that runs them deals with the "unprecedented" pandemic situation.

Veritas in Leeds city centre, East of Arcadia in Meanwood and The Horse and Farrier in Otley are all on the market.

Town Street, formerly known as Town Street Tavern in Horsforth, is also no longer on operator Market Town Taverns' website.

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Outside of Leeds, The Swan on the Stray in Harrogate, Brigantes in York and Tithe Bar in Northallerton, are also up for sale.

From top clockwise: East of Arcadia, Veritas and The Horse and Farrier.From top clockwise: East of Arcadia, Veritas and The Horse and Farrier.
From top clockwise: East of Arcadia, Veritas and The Horse and Farrier.

The pubs which remain under their operation, according to the website, are Arcadia in Headingley, Bar T'at in Ilkley, Coopers in Guiseley, The Mitre in Knaresborough, The Mews in Wetherby, The Narrow Boat in Skipton and The Old Bell in Harrogate.

During 2005 all of the company’s taverns banned smoking, after research suggested it would be a popular move with real ale lovers.

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Veritas in Leeds city centre.Veritas in Leeds city centre.
Veritas in Leeds city centre.

East of Arcadia is based at the former Becketts Arms in Meanwood Road, while Veritas is in Great George Street in the former Waterhole pub.

Market Town Taverns reopened Otley's Three Horseshoes, formerly run by Enterprise Inns, as The Horse and Farrier, in 2011.

A Heron and Brearley spokesperson said The Horse and Farrier would reopen once Covid restrictions are eased, but would "sadly won’t be part of our long-term plans".

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It is not known whether this will be the case for Veritas or East of Arcadia.

East of Arcadia in Meanwood.East of Arcadia in Meanwood.
East of Arcadia in Meanwood.

The company does not own the buildings which house the Leeds pubs.

Pubs campaigner and former Leeds North-West MP Greg Mulholland fears pubs operating out of buildings they do not own puts them at risk, particularly in uncertain times such as this - but Heron and Brearley insisted this was not a factor in their decision to sell off the pubs.

The company said it plans to acquire new pubs in the future after they "reposition" their estate.

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Mr Mulholland, campaign director for the Campaign for Pubs said: “It’s a real shame that Market Tavern Taverns have reduced the number of pubs they operate and the hope is that of the pubs they are giving up, another operator will take them on.

"We wish them well with their remaining excellent pubs, which will be back serving their communities just as soon as they are allowed to reopen.

“One thing that the Covid pandemic has shown is the real problem of pubs that are rented facing ongoing unreasonable rent demands, whilst having no trade.

"This is something that the Government must tackle and the law must change so that any such forced loss of trade is shared by those renting our businesses, as well as those businesses that rent these premises from them."

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Mr Mulholland said it was "disgraceful" and "morally wrong" that pubs could be lost as landlords demand full rent even when the law has stopped businesses trading.

He added: “The Campaign for Pubs wants to see more pubs actually owned and operated locally, where possible, which is a more sustainable model than facing rent that doesn’t reflect trading conditions, so we hope that some of these pubs will be bought by local operators and allowed to reopen and thrive”.

A Heron and Brearley spokesperson said: "We are indeed in an unprecedented situation for the pub sector. However, landlord rents are not related to these pubs being listed on the open market.

"It was always our intention to reposition our pub estate, but the Covid-19 pandemic has compelled us to accelerate our plans for the sale of these pubs.

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"In fact we intend to acquire new pubs in the future which are more aligned with our estate."

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