Log burning landlord is fired up for a fight

Hot topic: Landlord Graham Howson relaxes in front of one of his pubs traditional log fires

Hot topic: Landlord Graham Howson relaxes in front of one of his pubs traditional log fires

Blazing landlord Graham Rowson has vowed to fight a council ban on his pub’s roaring log fires all the way to court.

The angry licensee of the historic Black Horse in Preston is refusing to cool down after a heated row with Town Hall officers for using three wood-burning grates in the middle of a smokeless zone.

The city council has said his traditional fires break the law and must be either extinguished or switched to smokeless fuel. But Graham has challenged the local authority to “put up or shut up,” claiming right is on his side.

“I’m told an enforcement notice is on its way, but I’ll be ignoring it. I’m not going to back down,” he stormed. “If they want to take me to court then bring it on - let’s give it to a judge to decide.”

The 115-year-old Black Horse is a Grade II-listed building, highly commended by English Heritage and on the National Inventory of Historical Pub Interiors. Only seven weeks ago it was voted Preston’s Pub of the Year. Graham claims customers travel from miles around to drink in the “unique” Victorian alehouse, with the log fires an integral part of the pub’s ornate charm.

“When the council official came in and told me we were breaking the law I threw him out,” said Graham. “He was talking nonsense. There’s no way I wouldn’t light them, especially now in the build-up to Christmas and New Year. I’m going to continue burning logs, they can do what they like.

“I’ve had some great support from all over the country since the story first appeared in the Evening Post. And most of the people contacting me have said I’m in the right. Proper seasoned logs are not illegal.

“If the council want to take me to court then fine. I’ll fight them. I’ve got loads of information backing up my case.

“In the meantime the log fires will continue burning. My regulars would go mad if they weren’t lit.”




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