A Hitchin pub is "working tirelessly" to improve after receiving a one-star hygiene rating from the Food Standard Agency.

Following an inspection on March 20, The Albert Inn in Walsworth Road was deemed to require improvement for hygienic food handling and major improvement for management of food safety.

The cleanliness and condition of the facilities and building were deemed satisfactory.

In a statement to The Comet, a spokesperson for The Albert Inn confirmed that since the inspection, staff have been "let go" as part of efforts to improve, and that the business is "working tirelessly" to make the necessary changes.

"Following a recent visit from the Environmental Health Officer, we were incredibly saddened and disappointed to learn of our rating," said a spokesperson.

"The Albert is an independently-owned pub and takes real pride in it’s ability to deliver great quality food and drinks to it’s loyal customers. Sadly, our recent scoring highlights the vulnerability of the industry.

"At the time, we had entrusted our kitchen to a team who, despite having the resources and support that they needed to be able to work whilst meeting the necessary standards of Environmental Health, simply were not capable of doing so.

"These staff members were let go shortly after our initial EHO visit and a new team are now responsible for overseeing strict procedures which are managed by the newly appointed front of house manager.

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"Due to a number of wider factors beyond our control, the hospitality industry as a whole are facing a number of struggles.

"Whilst it's true that all businesses are experiencing spiralling operational costs and staffing challenges, independent businesses are feeling this twice as hard, with little to no external support. 

"The Albert Inn has worked tirelessly over the recent years to provide a place of enjoyment for its visitors in a time when closing local establishments and venues are becoming all too common.

"A second visit from the EHO highlighted that improvements have been made and we will be carrying out the final recommendations which include replacing the flooring and commercial sink in the coming weeks once we have obtained prices, we would like to thank the Environmental Health team for their pragmatic approach and assistance in this matter.

"The team at The Albert understand the seriousness of this recent visit and want to assure all our loyal customers that we take the issue of food hygiene very seriously.

"We are working tirelessly to ensure that all the relevant changes are made for compliancy with the very necessary standards and all staff members are working towards excellence.

"We would like to take this opportunity to reassure our customers that we take food hygiene very seriously and are committed to making sure that we are delivering great quality and delicious food and drinks."