By Keziah Smith
The ‘Dun Cow Inn’ has been granted permission to continue to serve its customers outside all summer, after intervention from Durham MP Mary Kelly Foy.
The beloved Durham pub has been struggling to survive under Covid-19 restrictions, as it has no official outdoor seating area. It has been using two parking bays to seat customers outside.
The pub’s plight was brought to Ms Foy’s attention after constituents contacted her about the ‘Save the Cow’ student-led campaign, which aimed to raise money for the pub.
Bill Sanders and Jill Carey, the owners of the ‘Dun Cow,’ said that, although the pub had been granted the use of two parking bays to accommodate customers outside, this arrangement would end in June. This would reduce the pub’s capacity and hinder its ability to financially recover after the pandemic.
The Durham MP contacted the council, arguing that, with the reduced traffic in the Old Elvet area due to the building work on Old Elvet bridge, the pub should be able to continue using the parking bays.
The owners now hope to negotiate with the County Council about using this space on an annual basis during the summer months.
Mr Sanders said: “Over the past year our business has been turned on its head. The Dun Cow is an intimate pub, which in normal times is part of our appeal, but social distancing restrictions severely restrict our ability to trade viably inside”
“The decision to suspend these parking bays for the entirety of the summer months is a lifeline to us.”
“Since we opened the outside seating area it has proven incredibly popular. It has been a godsend, our takings have improved drastically, up over 60 per cent, and we can now start to recover some of our pandemic losses. I am truly grateful to Mary for taking up this cause on our behalf.”
Mrs Foy added: “Hospitality businesses in Durham have been hit incredibly hard during the pandemic. Although for many the doors have re-opened and drinks are flowing once more, by no means has business as usual returned. Just this week, the Office for National Statistics has revealed that one in five pub owners fear they will not survive until August.
“When I became aware of the obstacles the Dun Cow was facing, I was all too happy to lend my support in any way I could in order to assist a popular pub which has been a fixture of the local community for generations.”
Image: Sarah Caldecott