Owner puts two popular pubs onto the market…

    TWO of the most popular pubs in the Tunbridge Wells area were placed on the market this week.

    The leaseholds for the Black Pig on Grove Hill Road near Tunbridge Wells station and The George and Dragon in Speldhurst are being marketed by Christie & Co on behalf of the pubs’ owner Julian Leefe-Griffiths.

    Mr Leefe-Griffiths, whose other establishments include the Leicester Arms in Penshurst and the Tunbridge Wells Hotel on the Pantiles, told the Times the decision to sell the leaseholds was part of a broader restructuring of his business.

    He said: “I have four establishments and they are all doing extremely well but we are looking to realign some of our businesses and move away from leasehold premises to freeholds.

    “That’s why both the George and Dragon and Black Pig have been put on the market, because they are leaseholds and are already attracting a lot of interest.”

    He added The Tunbridge Wells Hotel and Leicester Arms are still continuing to go from ‘strength to strength’ with the hotel continuing to be an ‘integral part’ of the resurgence of the historic promenade.

    Mr Leefe-Griffiths confirmed the George and Dragon –which he has held for 12 years and was the first pub he bought following a career in advertising – was on the market for £250,000, while the Black Pig is listed for £200,000.

    He continued: “With freeholds you could look at long term growth as against leaseholds where you can put a lot of effort into a premises and sell them after ten years with little return. The attraction of freeholds is with commercial mortgage you actually own the building in ten years’ time for almost the same commercial outlay. It’s about long term growth vs short term profits.”

    Eventually Mr Leefe-Griffiths said he hopes to re-expand his portfolio to end up with five or six freeholds.