The Baskerville Landlord Calls Time Over Spiralling Costs

Landlord Simon Cromack announced on Monday that he was closing The Baskerville in Shiplake that day.

Mr Cromack took over the pub 2 years ago which is owned by Tavern Propco. In 2020, the Baskerville won pub of the year in the Visit England Awards for Excellence and was awarded one AA rosette in 2021.

Simon said, “It is with huge sadness that as of today I have no option but to call it a day at the Baskerville. The combination of huge operating costs never before seen in hospitality, alongside a very significant downturn in business have set us on this path. Our energy costs have now surpassed 3 x what they were since our last full year’s trading accounts in 2019 (pre COVID). We did all we could to lock ourselves into the best of the terrible energy deals available but our hands were tied. Overall we have seen the majority of our suppliers prices increase 2 times this year alone, and in some cases 3 times. I appreciate all industries have seen big price increases, however pretty much everything we touch in the hospitality industry has seen unprecedented hikes. This has naturally meant that trying to find the sweet spot with regards to what to charge for our offer has been a relentless task. To charge the normal margin on much of our food and drink would have seen prices that make it untenable for some/lots of our customers.”

Simon also confirmed that the the annual rent had increased by 4% increase on an already significant annual amount. Simon added, “Of course I tried to negotiate with the landlords but to no avail!”

Residents on the Shiplake Community forum after reading the news posted:

“Such sad news to hear that you’re leaving. You have worked so hard to make a success of the Baskie, using creativity (lovely garden!), determination and an enormous amount of hard work. And, in spite of the problems you were having , you always managed to seem cheerful and welcoming to us all. Good luck with whatever you do next – we will miss you.” Bill and Rosie Pitkeathley

“Very sad news indeed. As Joni Mitchell memorably sang, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. But the thing that occurs to me is that the Parish Council should immediately move to have the Baskerville registered as an Asset of Community Value with SODC which would prevent any change of use or redevelopment for 5 years, and, if push came to shove, give us, as the community of Shiplake, the right to buy it and operate it as a community pub which has been done very successfully elsewhere.” Nicholas Blandy

“Dear Baski Team First and foremost our hearts go out to you all at the Baskeville! It’s a terrible shame you ran out of option Simon and having to make this heart wrenching decision, calling ‘last orders’ in our village pub. From the bottom of our hearts, we wish you and everyone who worked so hard to keep things going, the very best. You will be missed in the village community and again, Thank You for trying so very hard and trying to keep the faith!!” Best Wishes Andy & Claudia