PUBS in a village are threatening to sue a community group for publishing a comment alleging they sold 'poor beer'.
Ian Lever, of The Red Lion, and Paul Flaherty, of The Crown, are incensed the Malpas Parish Plan - sent to every household - includes a questionnaire response under the heading 'What Spoils Malpas?' about all three village pubs being 'dire' and selling 'poor beer'.
The document, an action plan which will help shape the village's development, was launched on Saturday after more than two years work by the Parish Plan Steering Group.
Mr Lever said: 'I am looking into the possibility of further action. It depends what this steering committee do.
'I'm not going to be attacking the parish council but it won't be the end of the matter. This has been sent to every household in Malpas. People who are new to the village will read it and because it's very negative they won't come in.'
He added: 'It says we sell poor beer. We don't sell poor beer, neither me or Paul. I have not yet spoken to a lawyer but it is potentially libellous. We would have gone out of business years ago if we sold poor beer.'
Mr Flaherty and his family arrived at The Crown six months ago.
He said: 'The pubs are not dire. I visited all three pubs before we took over The Crown. This will affect trade. People won't even bother coming in. This will put off potential customers. They will go elsewhere and won't put money into the village.'
Parish chairman Keith Ebben was sympathetic to the licensees. 'I think we can disassociate ourselves from this comment in the plan,' he said.
Malpas resident Bernie Lloyd, 51, self-employed, who enjoys a drink in the village, said: 'It was an absolute disgrace to put something in like that and not have a pint here. Whoever it is, they don't know their ale.'
Eric Barker, chairman of the Parish Plan Steering Group, said: 'It was an answer to a questionnaire about 'what spoils Malpas?' and that was the comment which came up. In all fairness, there were 20 comments of a similar vein. That's why we put it in.
'We also asked 'what's good about Malpas?' and there wasn't a single comment supportive of the pubs.
'I believe the attitude of other retailers would be 'if that's what the village thinks about my establishment then I will change it'.'
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