235 pubs ‘vanished’ in first half of 2019

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Rate of closure: more than one pub closed per day in the first half of 2019 according to real estate adviser Altus Group
Rate of closure: more than one pub closed per day in the first half of 2019 according to real estate adviser Altus Group
More than 200 pubs have closed their doors for the final time during the first six months of this year, according to new research.

Real estate adviser Altus Group found about 40 pubs a month, a total of 235, shut in the first half of 2019.

It claimed the rate at which pubs are “vanishing” due to being demolished or converted into other types of use has almost halved from 76 a month in 2018.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls highlighted it was good to see the rate of closures slowing but added too many businesses had already been forced to shut.

Stimulate investment

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 Government say they wish to stimulate investment in high streets and support businesses. If they are serious, they need to tackle these increasing costs. Otherwise, more pubs will close.”

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

The group blamed cheap supermarket alcohol, the smoking ban, changing leisure habits and work patterns against a backdrop of rising costs through increases in business rates and the minimum wage have all put more pressure on pubs.

Cost pressures

Altus Group president of expert services Alex Probyn said: “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 while local communities now have a say on the future on their local by the listing of a public house as an asset of community value.

“This results in an automatic removal of the permitted development rights for its demolition or change of use.

“The new retail relief, which discounted business rates bill 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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