Pubs and Bars

40 pub closures a month in 2019, study finds

Around 40 pubs a month, a total of 235, have closed since the start of the year according to the real estate adviser, Altus Group.

According to the research the rate at which pubs are vanishing either being demolished or converted into other types of use such as homes and offices almost halved from 76 a month in 2018.

UK Hospitality’s chief executive Kate Nicholls said it is good to see the rate of closures “slowing significantly” but that far too many businesses have already been forced to close.

She said: “Cost pressures, principally extortionate business rates, are pushing too many pubs to the margins and high streets are being squeezed. We have heard various members of the Government say they wish to stimulate investment in high streets and support businesses. If they are serious, then they need to tackle these increasing costs. Otherwise, more pubs will close.”

Analysis of official government data by Altus Group revealed the overall number of pubs in England and Wales, including those vacant and to let, fell to 41,536 on 1 January 2019 down 914 during the 2018 calendar year. That number declined further by 235 to 41,301 on 30 June 2019.

Alex Probyn, president of expert services at Altus Group, added: “Since legislative changes in May 2017, pubs looking to respond to the changing market have been able to expand their food offer without the cost and uncertainty of having to apply for planning permission whilst local communities through the community right to bid provisions now have a say on the future of their local by the listing of a public house as an asset of community value which results in an automatic removal of the permitted development rights for it’s demolition or change of use.”

Probyn added: “The new retail relief, which discounted business rates bills by a third from 1 April for smaller pubs in England, will certainly have helped to ease cost pressures with the average small pub saving £6,052.”

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