The future of a popular pub in Marlow is in doubt after its landlord gave up his licence due to rising costs, the Marlow Free Press can reveal.

The Cross Keys, in Spittal Street, has been closed for a few weeks, and the Free Press has now been told the licence has been transferred back to Heineken, which owns the pub, after it was deemed to be “no longer financially viable”.

Bar manager Jackie Murray-Ransom said Lee Dunn, the premises licence holder, had transferred it back to Star Pubs & Bars, Heineken’s pub business, after a number of residents expressed their concerns at seeing the pub closed in the middle of the day for several weeks.

She said: “With the cutback to the opening hours, and the high rent and rates, it has become impossible to carry on as a sole trader. 

“I would like to say thanks to all our customers for their support in these hard times.”

Star Pubs & Bars spokesman Siobhan FitzPatrick said company was looking at plans to refurbish and “upgrade” the pub next year, and is looking for a licensee to take it forward while hoping to reopen “as soon as possible”.

She said: “It is in a great location in centre of Marlow and has lot of unrealised potential, which is why it has already attracted attention from a number of interested parties. 

“We’re excited by the future prospects for The Cross Keys and intend for it to open again as soon as possible.”