THE prospect of two more famous Isle of Wight pubs closing their doors has provoked the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) to claim only a ‘suicidal billionaire’ would take over a new lease of an Enterprise Inns establishment.

Newport’s oldest pub, The Castle Inn, and the King’s Head, Yarmouth, will close at the end of their leases in the next couple of months unless new tenants are found.

This follows the recent closure of the New Inn, Shalfleet, and Piew View, Cowes, which shut in April and has still not reopened.

Isle of Wight CAMRA is currently organising the successful Beer and Bus weekend.

And treasurer Ken Matthews has sent a strongly worded letter to Paul Gill, regional manager of Ei Publican Partnerships, saying: “You must be devastated the Ei empire is disintegrating around your ears.

“Someone, somewhere must realise that good pubs like The Castle, Newport, Pier View, Cowes, New Inn, Shalfleet, and Kings Head, Yarmouth, cannot sustain the exorbitant rent along with the inflated price of cask ales against the free trade.

“We all know, that as far as rents are concerned, as long as a pub is empty, the cost to the group will never be recovered because nobody but a suicidal billionaire would take on an Ei lease at the same rent as the outgoing incumbent.

“House of Fraser, Debenhams, Mothercare and a raft of restaurants, even the mighty three food outlets, Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda are baulking against high rents and renegotiating leases.”

Speaking later, Ken added: “The pubs may reopen, and this is not the end, but if Ei continue not to listen, it will be the beginning of the end and the tenanted house will be lost to the Free House and the conglomerated.”

Isle of Wight chairman, John Nicholson, added: “The business models many breweries use, not just Enterprise Inns, is scandalous you only have to look at Wetherspoons and the fantastic service and quality they provide at reasonable prices.”

A spokesperson for Ei Publican Partnerships said: “We can confirm the Kings Head, Yarmouth, and The Castle Inn, Newport, are currently on the market due to the expiry of their agreements.

“We’d like to reassure the local community that these pubs remain open and if anyone is interested in taking on these fantastic opportunities in the future, or would like further information, please call our recruitment hotline on 03333 200036.”

The earliest record of The Castle opening was 1555 and King Charles I was said to drink there under armed guard while he was held captive at Carisbrooke Castle.

Latest official figures from the Office of National Statistics show almost 16 local pubs closed per week in Britain, more than 800 a year, between 2010 and 2017.

The number of IW pubs has decreased from 130 to 120 in that time.