Staff at a 385-year-old pub are protesting rising utility bills as they say they will have to start charging £20 a pint just to breakeven.

The Trigger Pond pub, in Bucknell Village, just outside Bicester, is holding a weekly protest – every Thursday, beginning on September 15 – where it will turn its lights off and invite customers to dine by candlelight.

The aim is to spark a movement within the hospitality industry and encourage other pubs and restaurants to do the same thing.

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Despite being a serious protest against rising utility costs, the pub will have an acoustic music set in place and be serving a selection of its favourite dishes, including fish and chips and prawn linguine.

The pub is owned by Jo Dyer, who is helped in the day-to-day running by her sister Charlotte Evans.

Ms Evans said: “My sister and I have had such a tough time over the last few years.

“First the pub suffered because of the lockdowns, then, my best friend and my sister’s life partner Harwood, died of a stroke suddenly last year.

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“We’ve had a horrendous time trying to keep the pub afloat.

“And now, with the energy crisis, we’re struggling even more.

“We’ve just been given our latest quotation, and it’s quadrupled – if it does come to that then the pub will be unsustainable to run.

“I don’t see how any businesses can survive this – we’d have to charge £20 a pint.”

Ms Evans and her sister came up with the idea of a lights-off protest when trying to think of ‘outside of the box’ ways to bring in customers, whilst also mounting a protest against rising utility costs.

Ms Evans added: “We’re panicking a lot. Trying to think of ways to overcome it.

“We want to be here this time next year. This pub was established in 1637, it would be a crime if it was no longer here.

“It’s not just our pub either, it’s every village pub, that’s why we’re hoping to encourage other hospitality businesses to join us in a protest against the rising costs.

“We’ve promoted our plans for candlelit dinners and acoustic music every Thursday on social media and we’ve had a fantastic response.

“People seem to really love the idea – we’re nearly fully booked already.

“We’ll be offering a toned-down menu, offering two courses for £25 and three courses for £30.

“We’re just scared. Really scared. We’ve gone through so much. Covid was one hell and now we’re going through another.

“It would be horrendous if the pub had to close. It’s a social hub for so many people.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing:

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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