A pub has started charging customers £2 an hour to use their outdoor heaters, saying they were left with no choice because of rising energy costs.
Hydes Bar Norton, in Stockton-on-Tees, installed token metres in their outdoor seating area, with customers now told to pay £1 for 30 minutes.
The bar said if they did not start charging for their outdoor heaters, they would have been forced to increase drink prices.
The pub’s owners said on social media: “Following a review of energy charges, which are now two and a half times what we were paying last year, we have made the decision to install token meters for the outdoor canopy heaters.
“Tokens can be purchased at the bar for £1, which provides 30 minutes.
“The decision was not taken lightly, the only other option being a blanket increase to drinks prices. The heaters will be available all day.
“Despite the bar being almost empty and heated inside, during quiet daytimes we have had people asking for the outdoor heaters to be put on.
“The running costs for these on an average month would exceed £1000, a cost we cannot sustain. Like many hospitality venues, our operating costs have substantially increased over the last 18 months.
“We appreciate that not everyone will agree with this, some will want to have a good moan, but as a small independent business, we have to keep our costs low where we can and account for rising charges.”
The decision has divided customers, with some suggesting that pub-goers wear thermals, while another suggested limiting the venue’s opening hours.