OWNERS of a Newport pub have hit back at speculation that it is set to close.

Joint owners Lee Taylor, 41 of Pontypool, and Lee Selway, 45, of The Bell Inn, in Caerleon, have grown frustrated with persistent rumours that the pub is to call time ever since they opened their second business venture, the New Court Hotel, Usk, some 18 months ago.

Mr Taylor appealed to the Argus to set the record straight and reassure customers that the pub is here to stay.

“The rumours started around 18 months ago when we started the New Court Hotel in Usk,” he said.

“People have been contacting us asking whether we are going to become a Toby Carvery or a Chinese restaurant.

“We have turned to Facebook and Twitter to set the record straight.

“We have lost around 10 percent of our trade from this.

“We have been here for six years and want the public to know we are not going anywhere.”

Writing on Twitter, Mr Taylor said: “Since purchasing the New Court Hotel in Usk some 18 months ago there has been wild speculation and vicious rumours that we are closed, closing, selling, sold, moved to Usk, converting upstairs into a B&B and the latest pearl today: ‘Oh, you’re still open then, aren’t you becoming a Toby Carvery?’

“To say I’m utterly exasperated is an understatement.

“We have never had any problems to leave The Bell in the past or the future. We love it too much and have worked too hard to walk away.

“There have been a lot of changes to licensed premises in Caerleon, but rest assured Lee and Lee are here to stay.”