The landlord of the Rover’s Return in Douglas says he’s been overwhelmed by public support after being told to remove the pub’s outdoor seating area.

Guy Armstrong-Rossiter was served notice by Douglas Council on Friday and has had to clear all the tables and chairs away from the pavement outside his pub on Church Street.

He says it’s a further blow for a business that sustained serious losses during three Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mr Armstrong-Rossiter said: ’In each lockdown, I had to throw away between £3-5,000 worth of stock. There’s lots of uncertainty in the trade. If we are trying to develop the economy, this is not the way to do it.

’Our reserves are pretty much gone. It’s the last chance saloon.’

He met with councillors and MHKs on Monday, and said: ’I’ve been told it wasn’t a council decision and they say they are coming back with help. The amount of public support we have had has been overwhelming.’

Douglas councillor Devon Watson said all three Derby ward representatives were ’adamant’ that the outdoor space should be restored, adding: ’This has been an ongoing issue that has now come to a head. I think it’s been handled extremely poorly.

’We need more spaces like this, not fewer.

’After three hard lockdowns, this business is going to lose its summer trade. It’s been a PR disaster.’

There’s been seating in the street outside the Rover’s for over 30 years.

Mr Armstrong-Rossiter has been landlord of the pub for the past 15 years.

He said: ’It’s a bit of a unique area. There’s a wonderful atmosphere, it’s bohemian.

’We’re an alternative pub, we’re not your typical wine bar. This is a real community place. I just think that it doesn’t fit into their grand scheme of things, that we’re not on their ticklist.

’This is where commonsense needs to come into play. We’re not in Strand Street, you haven’t got hundreds of people walking up and down. There have never been any issues.’

He said plans were submitted to comply with the local authority’s direction to move all furniture to the pub side of Church Street, and added: ’This has been going on for a while. They said they wanted everything moved to the pub side of the street and our plans were approved just before the first lockdown.

’It will cost us £25,000 to do it properly. Meanwhile, we’ve been asking the Department of Infrastructure to fix the drains and repair the uneven pavements for years.’