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Landlord launches car wash as costs of running pub soar

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: May 16, 2011

Landlord Steve Luckett, centre, with car washers from Spa Cleaning Services Darrin Fancis, left, and Michael Duffy

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PUB owner Steve Luckett is launching a new hand car wash in Abbeydale after revealing the financial pressures his boozer is facing.

Mr Luckett, who runs the Ridge and Furrow near the Glevum Shopping Centre, says his Sky TV bill has gone from £900 a month to £1,400.

The rateable value on his pub, which the city council uses to decide on his business rates, has gone from £17,500 to £39,000.

And with his utility bills topping £2,000 a quarter, he is facing a big squeeze.

But rather than be defeated, he says trade "has never been better" and is about to launch the car wash this summer.

A formal planning application has been handed to Gloucester City Council to use the pub car park for the project.

It will open seven days a week from 8am until dark, and be staffed by a private company called Spa Cleaning, which will rent out the space.

The pub has already tried the car park out as a hand wash service last weekend to see if there was a response from the community.

Mr Luckett said: "There aren't many places you can get your car cleaned around here, people don't want to drive two or three miles.

"We've now put it in for planning permission and hopefully we can get it properly started soon.

"With my rateable value going up, Sky want more money and everything has gone up.

"Because of that we need to maximise revenue wherever we can.

"We've worked really hard here to and the business is good though.

"The car wash would be a great addition to what we offer."

The pub is also planning to offer free tea, coffee or coke to people waiting to have their cars cleaned.

And they are considering putting together a deal where customers who use the facility a certain number of times each year get free Sunday lunch.

The bid has already won the backing of ward councillors. Councillor Andrew Gravells (Con, Abbey) said: "I know that they'll organise this hand car wash facility in a responsible way, and I think it's going to do really well here.

"I hope the city planners look at the application favourably and let them just get on with it.

"Everybody I've spoken to thinks it's a great idea."

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    Jon, Gloucester  |  May 16 2011, 9:30PM

    Billy - they definitely went through a period of a foreign link, but soon went back to the official version when lots of people stopped watching the sports there due to the ridiculous audio situation! Sky have a monopoly over the Premiership rights - Recently the EU heard the case bought by Karen Murphy vs Sky, who argued that Sky's rules about foreign signals is illegal, the initial finding was in favour of the landlady, if this is the final ruling, Sky will be forced to reduce their prices. The Ridge is good pub to watch sports and the food isn't bad either! They do lots to welcome families with the bouncy castle for the kids and the outdoor play area! Good on the pub for doing all it can to make a good living!

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    Billy, Bulls Hit  |  May 16 2011, 5:25PM

    I highly doubt this landlord is paying what he suggests, so don't be fooled. If you've been to this pub, you'll realise the sports they show is a stream from a foreign channel, with poorly synchronised English commentary. It's annoying if you hear that a goal has been scored before seeing it.

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    Jax, Gloucestershire  |  May 16 2011, 5:10PM

    I think it's a great idea and hats off to them! They washed my car and did a much better job of it than any auto washer ever has! I don't drink but I do like to go for a family lunch at the weekend, having my car washed at the same time meant guilt free chill-time! I think the prices of drinks have absolutely nothing to do with this story. It's not the landlord that puts the prices up. As far as I'm concerned they get my backing, we should do more to support those that are just trying to get by, whilst the Government continues to issue cuts, raise taxes and bring in laws that are not directly effecting them! The average Joe has been hit hard enough as it is!

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    Matt, Hucclecote  |  May 16 2011, 10:40AM

    Yes Mal, with all those costs to pass on to customers no wonder why people refuse to pay pub prices for the same drinks they could buy for a quarter of the cost 100yds away at Morrison's! The best think about staying in is you don't miss any TV programmes and even better you don't have to talk to anyone!

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    Mal, Local  |  May 16 2011, 10:22AM

    TV £1400 a month. Rates £300+ a month. Services £700(ish) a month. That's an awful lot of Cars to wash. If this is a typical example of what it costs to run a Pub then it explains why so many have gone down the pan.

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    Big Ron, Abbeymead but thankfully nowhere near Clock Tower  |  May 16 2011, 10:04AM

    Not a very new idea - most Tesco car parks are used for car washing! And the 'coffee/tea & coke' should you want it - will no doubt be only a third of the price charged at the pub. and the 'coke' won't be that dreadful 'postmix syrup' they use in pubs to maximise profits!

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    Gretchen, Gloucester  |  May 16 2011, 9:58AM

    Mr Luckett said: "There aren't many places you can get your car cleaned around here, people don't want to drive two or three miles. Not true, the excellent hand car wash at London road is opening a new site on Barnwood Road, less than a mile from the pub. And if you don't want to pay a lot there are lots of cheap car washes at petrol stations like Budgens, Sainsburys & Tesco. I stopped going to pubs when I realised how much the drinks cost compared to the supermarkets & if you drink at home there are no issues with drink/driving or smoking & no expensive petrol used to go out either. No going back I'm afraid.

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    Matt H, Cheltenham  |  May 16 2011, 9:57AM

    Agreed, a good initiative to (hopefully) generate some additional income for Mr. Luckett. Providing of course that the cost of the freebies he is planning to offer, not to mention the much-increased water bills, don't wipe out whatever profit he actually makes. Is this pub a Freehouse, or is Mr. Luckett a tenant / manager for a pub company? Because if it's the latter, it's not his car park to be renting out (subject to getting Planning Permission), and you can bet that if this enterprise does get up & running, the PubCo will be wanting their cut. Assuming they give Landlord's consent in the first place. Do hope Mr. Luckett has done his research thoroughly, because if he hasn't he might find it ends up costing him money, rather than generating additional income for his business. I'm not knocking the idea, just playing Devil's advocate.

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    timmy, glos  |  May 16 2011, 9:16AM

    The car wash is a good idea but please please get a new sign, - the huge wooden bord with looks really tacky and brings down the area, and i would rather the planning was denied than seeing that sign becoming a permanent fixture.

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    lord gaga, glos  |  May 16 2011, 8:36AM

    i feel another fire coming along