Property round-up

Lockdown 2.0 could close 12,000 pubs, GBPA Pub Hero given makeover, Chestnut buys Jamie Oliver’s parents’ pub

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Property, Finance, Pubco + head office, Tenanted + leased

Amid trade body announcements over pub and brewery closures, the past week has seen East Anglia-based operator Chestnut acquire a 13th site, while a Great British Pub Award winner has announced the long-awaited completion of an 18-month refurb.

12,000 pubs may never re-open, says BBPA

The Daily Telegraph​ has reported that more than a quarter of pubs face permanent closure amid a second lockdown in an on-trade crisis deemed greater than that posed by even the Second World War.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) forecast on 1 November that 12,000 of the UK’s 47,000 pubs may never reopen following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of a second lockdown from 5 November.

“This is the nightmare before Christmas,” Emma McClarkin, the BBPA’s chief executive said in response to the Prime Minister’s announcement. “Our research suggests 12,000 pubs could close putting 290,000 jobs at risk. That is a huge number.  

“For the pub industry this is no longer about surviving these four weeks of lockdown but surviving through the winter and just getting to spring. This is the biggest crisis ever to the great British pub. It is a bigger crisis than the Second World War.  

“For the hospitality sector it is crippling; the restrictions are crippling.”  

According to the BBPA, pubs have spent upwards of half a billion pounds putting in place measures to maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of Covid-19, adding that the financial support from the Chancellor needed to surpass those that propped up the trade during the spring.

Read more here​.


GBPA Pub Heroes’ winner completes 18-month refurb 

A project to revamp the Bowgie Inn in Crantock, Cornwall – winner of the staff welfare category at the 2020 Great British Pub Awards​ – has been completed more than a year after building work began.

“After over 18 months of hard work, it’s absolutely incredible to have opened our doors to showcase everything we have been up to over these last few months of lockdown,” owner Sally Pickles commented. 

“We have remained open throughout our refurb, but our temporary closure during Covid-19 allowed us to make huge progress. 

“When we reopened again on July 4th, it was not only a celebration after months in lockdown, but also a big moment for us as we showcased the Bowgie’s new look to the world.”   

Pickles said that although the pandemic has made 2020 incredibly hard, it has helped them to finish their refurbishment quicker than anticipated due to enforced closure from March until July.

“It’s just amazing when we welcome back visitors to theBowgie and they see the transformation,” she said. “Inside, we have opened up the space to maximise our incredible location overlooking Crantock beach, so there’s plenty of extra room to enjoy the view, better accessibility and everything has been done to very modern standards, all whilst keeping our traditional, quirky character. 

“The Bowgie is a community pub and it belongs to everyone, so it’s amazing that the refurb has been met with such excitement – everyone loves the changes and can’t believe it’s the same place. 

“I really think it’s helped to lift the spirits of our punters being back here again and enjoying the new surroundings while we get used to the ‘new normal’.”


Brewery numbers decline for the first time in nearly two decades

The 48th edition of the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Good Beer Guide 2021 has warned Brits of the devastating impact of Covid-19 on Britain’s pub culture and highlighted the first decline in the number of independent UK breweries in more than a decade. 

The 2021 Guide has found the number of independent UK breweries has dipped from 1,823 in 2019 to 1,816 in 2020 - the first time CAMRA’s guide has recorded a decline in numbers since the explosion in UK breweries started in 2008.

“Many pubs and breweries have fought hard and the majority have survived the first lockdown, but it’s clear the industry was already in a vulnerable position when Covid-19 hit,” CAMRA’s national chairman, Nik Antona says.

“Since then, breweries have all but been forgotten about, and may even be hit with higher taxes as the Government considers changes to Small Brewers Relief. 

“This is a pivotal time that could make or break the industry. 

“Our pubs and breweries are going to need significant long-term support and funding throughout the coming months to survive. Otherwise, I expect to see substantial closures in future editions of our Guide.” 

Chestnut acquires site from Jamie Oliver’s parents

The Cricketers in Clavering, previously owned by Trevor and Sally Oliver, has been acquired by Chestnut following the current owners’ decision to retire after 44 years of running the country inn.

The new site becomes East Anglia-based operator Chestnut’s 13th​ in the region 

“We are delighted to have acquired the Cricketers, an inn we’ve wanted to add to our growing collection for some time,” said Philip Turner, founder of Chestnut. 

“The way the business is managed – with a strong emphasis on good quality food with accommodation – makes it a perfect fit for our collection.

“We already know the area well, as we have the Eight Bells in Saffron Walden, and with such a strong existing offer we don’t plan to make any significant changes to the property in the short term,” he continued. “We will focus on maintaining its well-deserved reputation. 

“We do however look forward to getting to know the team and guests and building on all the hard work and energy Trevor and Sally have put into the business over the years. 

“Whilst some may question if this is the right time for us to acquire the Cricketers, our view and commitment is long term, this is a hugely successful business with strong foundations, we have full confidence in its future potential.”

Commenting on the decision to sell Trevor Oliver said; “We have had an amazing time running the inn, which has been our home for the last 44 years. 

“We brought up our children, trained and supported hundreds of staff in the hospitality sector and made many friends for life. 

“But with a great team and strong support from our loyal customers in place we felt it was the right time to move on. So, we have taken the decision to hand over the keys to Chestnut and look forward to seeing the next phase in the life of the Cricketers from the other side of the bar."


Brindisa owner takes on former Brunning & Price pub

As reported by The Morning Advertiser’s​ sister title MCA Insight​, the founder and co-owner of Brindisa restaurants Ratnesh Bagdai has taken on the Bailiwick pub, found on the edge of Windsor Great Park in Englefield Green, Surrey.

The pub was formerly operated by Brunning & Price as a food-led establishment serving cask ales and traditional food.

The site has been taken on by Dining Etc Ltd, a newly formed company led by Bagdai and the former chef patron of the Oxford Blue in Windsor and Restaurant Gordon Ramsey, Steve Ellis. 

Dining Etc has taken a new 20 year free of tie lease with a rent of £80,000 which includes the Bailiwick Pub and adjacent Cheeseman’s Cottage managers accommodation which dates back to the 1790s.

Bagdai was recently acting as finance director at Polpo, before it initiated insolvency proceedings.

Davis Coffer Lyons (DCL) acted on behalf of landlord, Havenchoice Limited. 

“The Bailiwick is in an exceptionally popular rural location in an idyllic setting, with immediate access to the park,” Paul Tallentyre, head of pubs and bars at DCL, said. 

“The new tenants know the location well and intend to carry out a full refit and provide all day service to a high standard. I’m sure they will flourish.”

Peckham nightclub loses licence after breaking lockdown rules 

A Peckham nightclub which repeatedly flouted Covid-19 measures with late-night parties has been shut down. 

Afrikiko nightclub and restaurant on Old Kent Road was reported to Southwark Council and stripped of its operating licence after Metropolitan Police officers found revellers ignoring social distancing rules by dancing and drinking together.

Further reports claim that the venue’s bosses tried to hide customers in the site’s basement during a police raid.

“We don’t want to take away people’s livelihoods – we would far rather they engaged with us and operated in a safe way for everyone”, Sergeant Keith Dempster from Scotland Yard’s South Central Command Unit said.

“However, by repeatedly operating as a nightclub, staff and patrons were exposed to a real risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus, which would have affected London’s communities.”

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