A HISTORIC Sheffield pub which opened more than 200 years ago is to close – another victim of the recession.
The Appleyards bought the Robin Hood Inn at Little Matlock in Stannington, 13 years ago to save it from closure.
But now the family are preparing to shut the doors themselves, saying they can no longer continue putting their money into the business.
A planning application has been made to the council to convert the grade II-listed building at the end of Greaves Lane, off Wood Lane, into three apartments and the family plan to move into them.
Bridget Appleyard said: “Our quality of life has suffered in order to keep what we see as the unique Robin Hood.
“We’d love to keep it but it is not financially viable. It has been on the market for over a year. People love the Robin Hood but they say it’s in the wrong location and it’s a white elephant. We have had to accept it.”
The pub was built in 1804 with trees and shrubs planted to replicate Matlock in Derbyshire.
Half of the building was originally cottages and the other half, overlooking woodland, was called the Rock Inn.
The pub even survived the 1864 flood before its name was later changed to reflect the Loxley connection.
The Appleyards bought it in 2003 when there were plans to turn it into apartments.
“We lived in the Loxley Valley and we wanted to save it and to turn it into the type of place we ourselves wanted to walk up the hill to visit,” said Bridget.
“But it was very draining and after four-a-half years we thought it was time to move on and to pass it to other people who could take it to the next stage.”
The family passed on the lease but the people running the pub hit financial problems after 18 months.
Bridget, husband Scott, Keeley, son Elliot and Bridget’s mum, dad, mother-in-law and uncle and friends then took over the running.
But the pub hit further tough times, closing on Mondays and Tuesday.
Now most trade is done at weekends, with Bridget working hard in the kitchen to ensure the pub retains it reputation for good local food.
Bridget said: “There is a hard core of regulars who love this place and I’ll be sorry that they will be losing their local.
“Everybody knows the pub. Thousands turn up on Bonfire Night, Mother’s Day and at Halloween but it’s only an occasional place for the rest of the year. A building this size can’t exist on that. Every month we were putting our own money into this place.”
Bridget and Scott plan to sell their home to help pay for the apartments scheme and plan to be joined by Keeley, her a one-year-old child, and Elliot.
They have pledged to honour bookings, with the pub still staying open until at least August.
Bridget said: “It’s very sad but we’ve been pushed into a corner. We hope people will understand that unfortunately it is the end of the road for the Robin Hood.”