Licensed venue closed every 48 minutes
An average of 30 licensed venues a day have permanently closed since December 2019 – the highest rate on record according to new figures.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA), the latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners revealed that despite 4,170 site launches since the last month of 2019, the loss of 11,894 means there have been almost three closures for each new venture.
This has resulted in a net loss of 7,724 licensed venues.
What’s more, the closure numbers are expected to increase, according to the research as the impact of restrictions including a huge drop in trade over December takes its toll.
“These numbers set out the full, devastating impact of the pandemic on Britain’s licensed premises,” CGA business unit director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, Karl Chessell said.
“The wipe out of Christmas trade was clearly the final blow for many businesses and the long wait that others now face to open their doors sadly means closures will mount even higher.”
Pub applications almost double during pandemic
New figures from pub property website, Findmypub.com, have revealed the number of applications it received to operate pubs has increased by 47% during 2020.
In 2019, the site revealed that it handled 6,721 pub applications. However, despite the sector weathering severe Covid-19 symptoms last year, Findmypub handled 9,867 applications.
What’s more, it adds that so far 2021 has already outperformed 2020, with 891 leads sent to clients in January – a 10% year-on-year increase – while February figures demonstrated 19% growth versus 2020.
Additionally Findmypub revealed that web traffic increased by almost a quarter (22%) the day after Boris Johnson announced his lockdown roadmap on 22 February, and 30% of candidates that registered an account in 2020 were new to the trade.
“Our sector has taken a hit, a significant one which will need many hands, many years and financial support from the Government to help heal,” Findmypub’s website stated.
“Despite this, we can categorically report that the interest in pubs has not dwindled. Our people are ready to take on these challenges, our sector is still seen by many as a viable route to take.”
Chancellor to pledge £150m for community ownership fund
The Budget will include a £150m fund to help communities revive their local pub Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has told The Sun.
The four-year scheme, which will open this summer, will allow communities to ask Government to double funds any funds they have raised to purchase a local asset, such as a pub, up to the value of £250,000.
“Pubs and sports clubs are the heart and soul of our local towns and villages – they’re the glue that keeps us together,” Sunak told The Sun.
“This fund will help to ensure vital local institutions aren’t lost to those who treasure them most.”
Some 1,833 pubs have either been demolished or converted for alternative use during the last three years alone, according to the real estate adviser Altus Group.
Campaign for Real Ale national chairman Nik Antona described the community ownership fund as “great news for the great British pub”.
“Our locals are vital parts of our social fabric, bringing communities together and helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation,” he said. “They deserve to be protected as community assets.
“Having enough funding can make all the difference when a community group is campaigning to save and take over the running of their local pub."
Five Points to open new showcase taproom venue
London-based Five Points Brewing Company has announced plans to launch a new combined brewery and open-air taproom in Hackney to coincide with the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The move will allow the beermaker to merge its production and warehousing sites into a brand-new flagship headquarters – on top of launching what will be Hackney’s largest brewery taproom on-site.
Additionally, Five Points will bring its sales and distribution operations under the same roof as its brewing operations at the Mare Street site.
The company aims to complete phase one of the project in time for April reopening of outdoor hospitality.
Company will be raising fresh investment funding and allowing customers to invest, with perks to include bar tabs in the new taproom, free birthday pint and more.
Founded by Ed Mason and Greg Hobbs in 2013, the award-winning brewery will also celebrate eight years of brewing in 2021.
“The past 12 months have been incredibly challenging for independent breweries, as they have for all small businesses,” Mason said.
“So it is incredibly exciting to be able to look to the future and place the company on a secure footing with a new brewery and taproom, in our Hackney home.
“I cannot wait to be sharing pints in the sun in our new outdoor taproom this summer”
Extend commercial eviction ban until July, campaign urges
A campaign for a three-month extension of the commercial eviction moratorium and flexibility on rent repayments, has been launched.
The #GiveHospitalityABreak campaign has urged the Government for a further three-month extension to the eviction ban from 31 March and a two-year period for businesses to pay half the back-rent owed.
The campaign said this would be a Government mandated starting point for reasonable negotiations between tenants and landlords.
It would avoid the issue of tenants having to pay a pre-coronavirus rent in a post-coronavirus market, according to campaigners.
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