Abingdon pub landlady cites Wetherspoons competition among reasons to quit

A LANDLADY said the opening of a Wetherspoon’s pub in Abingdon is partly to blame for her quitting her pub.

Lisa Rowberry stepped down from the Cross Keys, Ock Street, on Sunday after less than a year. Brewery Greene King said the pub would re-open tomorrow with new management. JD Wetherspoon spent £1.2m on the Narrows on High Street. It opened in October.

Mrs Rowberry said: “The daytime trade died completely when Wetherspoon’s opened.” But she said: “I think the Cross Keys died a death a long time before I got in there and I didn’t think it had much of a future.”

An assault in its gents toilet in October also contributed to her decision to leave, she said. Thames Valley Police confirmed a man was arrested and charged in connection with the incident and appeared in court in October.

Mrs Rowberry has moved to the King’s Arms in Wallingford Street, Wantage.

Oxford Campaign for Real Ale branch chairman Tony Goulding said: “It has been a troubled pub, it has had several landlords over the past five years.”

He urged brewery owner Greene King to show its support for the long-term future of the pub.

A brewery spokesperson said: “The licensee at the Cross Keys has moved on to run another of our pubs and we would like to thank her for her hard work.

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“A new licensee will be running the Cross Keys and is looking forward to welcoming in customers.


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