Somerset cliff-edge pub to close after scare

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Erosion fears: the Blue Anchor will close permanently after a recent landslip raised safety and financial concerns (image: Chris Talbot, Geograph)
Erosion fears: the Blue Anchor will close permanently after a recent landslip raised safety and financial concerns (image: Chris Talbot, Geograph)

Related tags Somerset

A pub situated on the edge of a cliff has announced its closure following fears it could slip into the sea.

The Blue Anchor, in Minehead, Somerset, has been operating precariously close to the edge, exacerbated by a worrying landslide in March.

The pub has been in business for just shy of 500 years, however, its cliff-edge position overlooking the Bristol Channel has become increasingly dangerous in the past few years.

After the most recent landslip, a large crack appeared in the Anchor’s beer garden, putting the wall of the pub at risk.

Its owner said there had been a lack of action and communication from the local council, and the risk of further erosion was too substantial for the pub to continue.

A funding application to the Environment Agency for protective work was unsuccessful.

No long-term future

Pub owner and licensee Cara Strom told followers on social media the decision to close at the end of the month came as she “simply cannot see a long-term future for the building” and “financial common sense has prevailed”.

She said: “I have made the difficult decision to close. I simply cannot see a long-term future for the building that still needs further investment to get it back up to standard, and to cope with the increase in trade.

"A five-year business and investment plan no longer seemed worth it, after £10,000 was spent on raising the height of the area’s sea wall.

“How can I make further investment when I do not know whether it will be there by this time next year?"

Winter woes

She continued: “Overall, trading levels have been far above expectations but being such a seasonal business, we still lose money during the winter months.

“More importantly, the winter is a time where we can do the essential work on the building using money that I would need to borrow then pay back in the long term.

"I simply cannot do this with such uncertainty in the building’s future," she added.

The licensee thanked the “wonderful team” at the pub and its regulars for their support.

A spokesperson for West Somerset Council said: “West Somerset Council takes its role as the Coastal Protection Authority seriously and has been working to deal with the coastal erosion issues over several years.

"We spent significant time and money in taking an initial bid to the Environment Agency in the hope of being awarded money to build an engineering solution but unfortunately that bid failed.

"West Somerset Council has been very clear that we alone cannot resolve this issue and are working with the Environment Agency and Somerset County Council to find a long term solution along this section of coastline.

"The Council remains supportive and empathetic to the needs of the hoteliers and the wider community. The hotel owner has always been informed of the action we are taking and our limitations.”

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