Herald Inns & Bars, the company headed by Julian Sargeson, has closed six venues, writes Paul Charity. The company is understood to have closed its Brannigans venue in Reading at the Oracle Riverside and also Mood sites in Carlisle, Preston and Doncaster. Its Breeze venue in Newport has also closed, as has Glass in Manchester. The Reading site underwent a £300,000 investment 18 months ago. It is thought that a Herald Inns venue in Preston has also been closed. Sargeson, who became chief executive at Herald last year, said: “A number of sites have closed since I arrived — Crawley, Warrington and Rugby, for example. “It’s cheaper sometimes to close them than keep sites open. Some landlords are reasonable and some aren’t.” Reading Pubwatch secretary Bill Donne said the Brannigans venue suffered from being unable to provide an adequate smoking solution. He said: “The concept did not evolve and, in the end, it lost touch with the market.” Hemway, the management company of tycoon Trevor Hemmings, parted company with its business partner HBOS in respect of the Herald Inns & Bars business in April. Hemmings held shares in Herald, but it is thought that they had no value because Herald has lost money for a number of years. A new company, HIB Collective, was formed by managing director Julian Sargeson and business associate Peter Callaghan, in partnership with bank HBOS, to run the Herald business. Sargeson’s appointment at Herald followed the defection of Kevin Allcock, who left the group to join Ultimate Leisure (now Premium Bars & Restaurants) as director of operations. Sargeson became Herald’s third managing director in eight months. Mike Clayton left at the start of 2007.

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