Margate landlord announces the closure of The Britannia pub

The Britannia

The Britannia pub in Margate will close its doors for good on January 15, says landlord Paul Rollins, due to pressures including ‘crippling’ business rates.

Paul and wife Edna have run the Fort Hill boozer for almost five years and hit the headlines with their £1 Sunday roast dinners last year. The venue has also put on a host of live music nights and other events over the years,

But Paul, 66, says running the “pub is not viable.”

Paul and Edna have been at the helm of the pub for almost five years Photo John Hutson

In September Paul, who is the President of the Licenced Victuallers Association Thanet Branch, revealed during a meeting that he was paying a huge £22,000 a year in business rates.

The British Beer and Pub Association says: “Business rates are a major cost to pubs, who pay a disproportionate amount compared to other sectors.

“In April 2017 there was a revaluation of rates across the UK, with many pubs seeing further significant increases. We believe major reform is required and until that point additional relief should be given specifically for pubs.”

The Britannia has also made the decision to keep the doors closed today (January 3) as a precaution due to a Traveller encampment currently at the Lido car park in Cliftonville. Last August Bank Holiday the pub had to shut when  trouble flared with a group staying at the same site.


  1. Another victim of a NON-value for money TDC/KCC. Business rates of £22,000 (or £425 a week) means you have to take in £4500-£5000 weekly to make a profit. Takings, even in high summer might be possible, but in the colder winter Months…. impossible.
    I feel sorry for this chap, as he has done everything possible to make his Pub a success. Unfortunately, this has not worked out.
    I wish him all the best for the future. Beaten by the greed of TDC/KCC… and we wonder WHY the High Street has so many empty shops !!!
    Canterbury is even worse, a shop I know, has to fork out £1000 a week BR, and a mechanical sweeper drives by every day scattering litter all over the road.

  2. Really bad news. Go there quite a bit with friends that live nearby, always found it very nice there, such a shame

  3. I think it is about time the councils were put to task by the government and I shall be asking the government to look into Thanet councils tax rates for all and access what is going on

    • The reason councils have to charge such huge rates is because central government has savagely cut the rate support grant. By all means take it up with the government, and good luck.

  4. Yet again another public house gone due to extortionate fees , I bet the supermarkets are loving this. A public house a social meeting point a chat with friends, where will this lead?

    • Central government hold your head in shame…tdc have to manage an ever shrinking pot of money from central..less money to cover more ….and whoops…we’ve voted them back in.

  5. Thanet business rates are higher than the west end of London. I know this as my neice runs a shop in West London and business rates are just 7k yearly. Thanet is the worst place to try to run any business or in fact even try and live at all. Unless you want to live on welfare from cradle to grave.

  6. So frustrating! We have family who regularly visit a pub in Suffolk that is able to serve good real ale at £2.70 to £3 a pint….

    • Just think how many pints you’d need to sell to cover business rates let alone buy stock… pay ground rent …pay staff ..nat insurance..pension schemes…its a tough world out there

  7. It’s always TDC’s fault everything that is wrong with thanet. It’s not the smoking ban that killed the pubs or the people who park inconsiderately in your road or the people that throw litter everywhere, the scum landlords or the modern day salvery. It’s TDC fault it’s never the behaviour of unsavoury people, always TDC.

    • Everything no, but a great deal yes, TDC are the managers of the area and its issues, historically the management has been poor. Without doubt there are many who’s behaviour and actions is reprehensible , dealing with some of those is the responsibility of TDC.
      The mismanagement (or whatever else you’d like to call it) has meant there is no money to do what they should be doing and instead they are more interested in raising cash or spending less , hardly a recipe for meaningful change.

      TDC will be at the heart or close to many of the things that cause me grief in life, often because they can’t do their job properly , been the case for over 30 years and i’ve no confidence it’ll change. Some may call it cynicism , personally i regard it as the lesson learnt of bitter experience.

  8. Such a sad loss, wake up Margate council its yet another Victorian icon vanishing, which links back to the ” Good old Days ” when Margate was a desirable destination magnet for holidays and day trips, and local people were listened too and involved with its development.
    There are numerous photos of the Victorian past showing this location yet the council let’s current physical history slip away.
    Why not start a working party of local people who can advise on our heritage.
    A greedy speculative developer must be rubbing his hands.
    All together a very sad tale removing a local and holiday makers historic hub. The fort was a real place !

    • Perhaps now that aviation is becoming a no-no due to its contribution to climate change , UK residents will start having holidays in Britain again. However, the “Good Old Days” were also the Bad Old Days for many.

  9. What happens when there are no shops left for the council to get this shameful tax from. I would be more worried how much the council will put council tax up to compensate for this thus putting thousands of thanet people struggling to pay there rates and thus having to sell there homes

    • You should be more worried about those that don’t pay their council tax. I know of a case where the family in question owed 3.5k toTDC forcouncil tax arrears, no action was taken and they were given a council house.

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