Anger is mounting after a national brewery called chucking out time for five North Lakeland pub families.
Marston’s, owner of Jennings Brewery, is not renewing the publicans’ licences next year and the move is making them jobless and a number homeless.
Some of the publicans affected have invested heavily into their businesses.
The move has provoked a backlash from the Keswick community with calls for Marston’s to reconsider and even threats of a local boycott if landlords are replaced with managers from out of the area.
The pubs are the Oddfellows Arms, Bank Tavern, George Hotel and Twa Dogs Inn at Keswick and the Royal Oak in Braithwaite.
Carl Maloney, of the Oddfellows Arms, has set up a petition calling for a change in the law to prevent pub companies from “evicting” business owners without proper cause.
The legislation – the Landlord and Tenants Act – which allows brewing companies to not renew licences providing the business takes over operations itself was created in 1954 and Mr Maloney says reform is needed.
The petition has more than 1,300 signatures.
One signatory, Ronnie McDonnell, wrote: “This is grossly unfair on the tenants of these pubs who have spent a large amount of time, effort and money in building their businesses.”
Prominent public figures have also voiced their concerns and leading the charge is Keswick mayor Alan Dunn, who organised Keswick Beer Festival and was chairman of the local CAMRA branch.
“It’s really good to see the petition going well,” he said. “I do feel as if Keswick is being picked on.
“The pubs here get big turnovers and so Marston’s are gutting the Keswick community just for profit.”
Keswick’s MP Trudy Harrison said she has been in touch with Marston’s following concerns voiced by a constituent.
And residents took to social media to voice their concerns. Darren Halmshaw said: “That is shameful behaviour and when the change happens I for one will never step in any of their pubs again.”
Snick Dixon said: “So more outsiders coming in as managers I suppose. I think it’s disgusting. We grew up going in all those pubs. If it’s management coming in they need boycotting.”
Marston’s said talks with tenants are always confidential.