March landlord celebrates New Year with a private party despite council’s threat of court action and leaves The Cock Inn with a real bang

New Year at the Cock Inn March hosted by outgoing landlord Chris Kirby and his wife Shell

New Year at the Cock Inn March hosted by outgoing landlord Chris Kirby and his wife Shell - Credit: Archant

Pub landlord Chris Kirby went out with a bang on New Year’s Eve with an invitation only event to mark the end of his troubled stewardship of The Cock Inn at March

Mr Kirby held the ticket event despite the threat of a noise abatement notice hanging over him from Fenland District Council.

On Monday Mr Kirby said the party was a huge success with fireworks wowing the invited revellers who tucked into free food provided at the landlord’s expense.

He also said: “I have heard nothing from Fenland District Council so I assume there were no complaints. To be honest I did everything I could to make sure we did nothing that other people weren’t also doing to celebrate the New Year. It went really well and everyone had a really good night. It was a great way to say thank-you to all the people who have supported me over the past six years.

“I spoke to my neighbours before hand and said what I was planning, and pointed out they wouldn’t have to worry about me any more because this was my last night in charge of the pub.”

Prior to the party Mr Kirby accused Fenland District Council of ‘entrapment’ over the noise abatement notice which he said was issued at the end of November for a night when the High Street pub had nothing on.

He claimed the action was simply the council’s way of stopping him holding events over Christmas.

Most Read

Mr Kirby was embroiled with the council for sometime over allegations of noise nuisance generated at the pub.

Speaking before the New Year’s Eve party, held in the marquee at the rear of the pub, which has been at the heart of noise problems, Mr Kirby said: “They’ve told me if there is one complaint tonight they will take me to court. But that is persecution, plain and simple. I checked the till receipts for the night the noise abatement notice was issued for and we were closed at 10.30pm.

“It is entrapment, the notice still stands even though I’m fairly sure it was issued as a result of a karaoke evening at Georges. I could appeal it, but it remains in force tonight.

“They have threatened me with court, if there is one complaint. I say ‘do it’, if you’ve got nothing better to spend the council’s money on - then I will push it all the way. The council are like ostriches with their heads buried in the sand - they are blinkered,” said Mr Kirby, who has had six years at the pub, with New Year’s eve being his final one as landlord.

Asked if he would consider taking on another pub Mr Kirby said: “Would I heck, if it was the last pub in the fens and they begged me I wouldn’t do it.

“I could have made a real go of this pub with weddings, christenings and other functions, but the council has been completely against me, I blame them completely for my decision to leave.”

Mr Kirby, who has now returned to working on the roads, will continue to run his outside bar business Posh Bars and the bouncy castle hire after quitting the pub.

He is also responsible for providing bars at Friday Bridge Village Hall, where Mr Kirby said he has been ‘welcomed with open arms’.