Chef Marco Pierre White is rumoured to have walked away from one of his controversial gastro pubs – amid reports of a mass staff walkout and a rebellion by the locals.
The fiery chef bought the Pear Tree Inn in 2011 – quickly upsetting locals who nicknamed him ‘Marc-Up’ and accused him of turning their boozer into a posh London eaterie.
Regulars claimed earlier this month most of the staff have walked out over Marco’s bossy management style – leaving just a single manager.
But now the doors are shut, the manager has apparently left and locals claim Marco has called time on his business venture and sold the lease.
The website for the hotel and pub in Whitney, Wilts., claims the venue is simply shut for a refurbishment over the summer – but locals said removal vans have gutted the place.
Local councillor Terry Chivers, who has been drinking at the pub for more than 20 years, said: “What I’ve been told by a good source is that the lease has been sold. Over the last week everything has been removed and the whole place has been gutted.
“All the staff have gone and there has been no attempts made to replace them. I don’t think Marco will be missed in the slightest around here.
“He came in and made a big deal about supporting the locals but he didn’t even have the decency to tell them the Pear Tree was closing.
“He was pig-headed about the whole thing, from the start, he took off all the beers that the locals drank.
“There was such a massive turnover of staff and when you went into the pub you’d never find anyone at the bar to serve you.
“Marco was there all the time in the beginning but when things started to go wrong, he started to walk away. It was probably something of an embarrassment for him.”
Marco bought The Pear Tree in March 2011 with business partner Paul Clark as one of six pubs from The Maypole Group which went into administration.
He was slammed for removing all draught lagers from the bar and stocked just one bottled lager costing £4.20 a bottle.
Cider drinkers had to make do with a super strong 7.3 per cent drink, but the menu had more than 40 red wines, with the top bottle costing £139.
All pub snacks were removed with customers pointed towards the posh menu for food, and the eight rooms at the hotel cost between £70 and £170 a night.
Earlier this month the manager Duncan de Jager – who is now thought to have left – denied the place had lost its staff and said the refurbishment would be completed in a “few weeks”.
But now the website for the venue has been replaced by a message which says: “CLOSING FOR THE SUMMER PERIOD during which time we will be carrying out re-furbishments.
“We are planning to reopen at the end of September.”
Customers are being referred to one of White’s other hotels – the nearby Rudloe Arms in Corsham, Wilts,.
Terry added: “I’ve heard the place is losing £2,000 a week – that’s just the rumours though.
“The place should be a goldmine but people aren’t going in any more.
“The locals are sick of it. You walk up to the bar and it takes ten to 15 minutes to get served.
“I hope whoever has got it will engage with the locals from the start and get them back into the bar.”
A spokeswoman at the nearby Rudloe Arms said nobody was available for comment.
She said: “I don’t know anything about it. Nobody here can speak to you about it.”