A POPULAR Wellington pub is set to close its doors due to financial troubles.

The Dolphin, in Waterloo Road, will be closing on Friday, January 17.

Anna Madams, publican, has been running the busy venue for nearly eight years, but says she has been struggling to fund the business in the face of a changing industry.

She said: “It’s never made money in the almost eight years I’ve been running it.

“I’ve subsidised the Dolphin to the tune of a small house over that period and it can’t go on.

“The lease is slightly under £3,000 a month and you’ve got to sell an awful lot of beer to cover just the rent. It’s also down to the arrival of Wetherspoon’s in a small town like ours. Although we weren’t yet profitable, our trade was growing 20 per cent a year until they arrived.”

Until recently Anna, 42, was able to keep the Dolphin open with subsidies from her other pub in Bristol, The Prince of Wales, but that situation has changed. “The whole nature of the industry has changed in the last 10 years,” she said.

“I’ve been involved in pubs my whole adult life but my heart isn’t in it any more. I don’t want to end up like Peggy Mitchell always looking like she’s sucking a lemon.

“I’d love the Dolphin to stay open because it’s a real community asset and the heart of some people’s social life but running it is a 100-hours a week job and I need to put my family and financial future first.”

When Ms Madams took on the lease in 2012 the Dolphin had been closed for over a year and she transformed the pub with live music, quizzes and imaginative food. In recent times it has become the heart of North Wellington, with many community groups meeting in the upstairs function rooms.

There is a possibility of the pub re-opening in the future with a new tenant. Some regulars have spoken about a crowd-funding scheme to provide for a re-capitalised business.