A POPULAR country pub has been forced to close due to soaring fuel costs.

The Frozen Mop in Mobberley faces gas and electricity bills of around £10,000 a month.

Managers hope to reopen in the new year if they can convert the upstairs of the 19th century barn building into hotel accommodation.

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In a statement on social media, Cheshire Pub Co said: “Unfortunately due to overheads, especially electric and gas costs, circa £10k per month, we can’t continue to trade the site in its current format and as we head into winter, fuel bills will increase substantially.

“Thank you for support and being part of our community and making the Frozen Mop a special place for all.

“We will keep everyone posted and we hope to see you at the Mop or at one of our other venues in the not too distant future.”

Locals have expressed their shock and sadness.

Knutsford Guardian: Bosses hope to to convert the upstairs of the 19th century barn into hotel accommodationBosses hope to to convert the upstairs of the 19th century barn into hotel accommodation (Image: Google Maps)

One regular said: “Such terrible news as another good British pub clings on. Fingers crossed for the future.”

Another customer said: “So sorry to hear this, we’ve been coming to the Mop for years and years as a family, such a lovely place with great people and great food.

“I truly hope you’re able to reopen and put this debacle behind you.

Another woman said: Terribly sad to hear this.

“A wonderful pub with a relaxing atmosphere.

“The food is always exemplary.”

Simon Kalton, of Cheshire Pub Co, told The Guardian: “We have put proposals forward to the landlord to make better use of the property and to convert the upstairs to hotel letting accommodation, which we believe the site needs to continue.

“So there is an element of hope that we can trade again at some point int the future.

“We are hoping to reopen the Mop in the new year if we can get some of our plans across the line.”

The group’s other pubs, including new sites, she said, are trading well.

Kate added: “We had to take the decision to close the Mop due to cost of utilities and the sheer size of the place to power and heat became quite daunting with current rates as we faced winter.

“All pubs are independent limited companies, which allows us to stick to our growth plan, including an exciting new opening in spring.

“We face a very challenging time in terms of overheads and costs of goods but we do our best to maintain prices as not to impact the costumer who themselves are under pressure.

“The government needs to provide something for the industry to support with rising overheads otherwise they will lose many community institutions across the country.”