Area is among worst in UK for pub closures

Areas in the Black Country have been named as some of the worst in the country for the number of pub closures this year, new figures show today.

Wolverhampton, Brierley Hill and Tipton have been among the hardest hit nationally. In Wolverhampton alone, 30 pubs have called time in the past four years.

The Campaign For Real Ale says that in 2009 seven pubs in Wolverhampton closed down, five in 2010 and nine in 2011. So far this year there have already been 13 closures in and around the city.

Five closures have been reported so far in Brierley Hill this year with four recorded in Tipton, including the Royal Oak.

In Wolverhampton, The Mitre has been closed along with the former Varsity pub in the city centre.

Pub preservation officer for the Wolverhampton branch of Camra, Jim Laws, said: “There are two things, the first one is the tax on beer, which means it is more expensive to drink in pubs than to buy a drink at the supermarket.

“The other main problem is that a lot of the pubs are run by companies and they have to buy their beer from them, it is more expensive than buying it direct, which impacts on the customer.”

Nationally, Camra says 18 pubs are closing every week, a figure which has increased from 12 a week in the past year.

However, some pubs in the city are still doing well, including the popular Great Western in Corn Hill.

Licensee and proprietor Jamie Atkins said: “In the future you are not going to see anywhere near the number of pubs that you used to, but well-run, quality operations that offer value for money and service will continue.”

But it is not all gloom for the region’s pub trade.

A new Hungry Horse pub is being created as part of a wider multi-million pound transformation of the landmark Goodyear site off Stafford Road. Another landmark pub in Wolverhampton has also just been given a £160,000 facelift before being re-opened as a sports bar. The Globe, formerly the Alexandra, has been closed for six weeks.

Comments for: "Area is among worst in UK for pub closures"

JJ

The only way most pubs are going to survive is to move towards food and the area is crying out for some decent restaurants. The problem is that when this happens these venues offer a competitive rate on the food but then sell the alcohol at a premium price. The bar part of the business become more of an after thought and many will just close as soon as the restaurant trade finishes. Something will have to give sooner or later but I get the impression that the government want to see alcohol sales slowly reduce to the point where they can make it illegal.

karen

I stopped going in pubs when they bought the smoking ban in, as did many of my friends, even now if I go to a pub for a meal I leave as soon as I have eaten as I can no longer enjoy a cigarette with my drink. Why they won't admit this has contributed to the problem is beyond me.

stinky

Have to agree only have one drink with the meal now and leave as soon as I have had the meal others may disagree but all my friends and the gaffer and his workforce smoked, so there was no argument about elf and safety

baggiebloke

I am very surprised that any pub in Brierley Hill has closed, given the amount myself and Mrs Baggiebird spend in various boozers there...

WorcesterBaggie

The Corn Exchange at the top of the Delph ran dry of Guinness over a week ago...

Are you responsible for this???

Neswulf

A real shame, though if the pubs aren't used enough, they'll shut. People are feeling the pinch, and not going out as often as they used to as money's tight, pub beer prices are going up (because of tax), and the smoking ban killed off a lot of trade a few years back. A real shame with the Tettenhall Mitre, five or six years back this was a busy pub serving good drink and food, but sucessive failed terms under different owners seems to have doomed it. There was nothing quite like a pint overlooking the green on a hot summers day.

On the other hand, we do have some good pubs remaining, as well as some opening in Wolverhampton - for example The Combermere Arms, or the Lych Gate Tavern. If everyone made at least one pub visit a week, maybe we'd see a few more weathering the current storm.

sheila.d

Given the opposition from the Tory party at the vote for the smoking ban, it,s incomprehensible that five years down the line, conservatives in power and we are still sitting watching dozens of pubs close. Got to ask why?

Chas

The duty on a pint is about 50p. Even a cut in duty will not get people using pubs again.

Nobdy ever went to pubs for cheap drinks, but to socialise. Before the smoking ban the majority of regular punters were smokers, but many of those smokers are now socialising at home where they can enjoy a cigarette with their drink.

London Bloke

If you want customers then give them a decent pub with decent beer. I don't want to spend time in a grubby pub where the tables and floor are sticky with old beer. I don't want to drink in a pub where the clientele seems to consist mainly of youths who think that swearing loudly and breaking wind are amusing. I don't want to drink in a pub which serves short measure by putting an inch of froth on beer and then get resentful looks when asking for a top-up. I want staff who are competent and polite and try to offer service. I do not want to have to walk into or out of the pub through gaggles of people blowing smoke in my face. I do not want to go in a pub which allows dogs when there is food being served.

The formula is simple - a clean and civilised pub with good beer served well by a polite person. Try most pubs in Wolvo and surrounds and they will fail on those criteria. They have their salvation in their own hands.

Isambard

"clean and civlised" are not what one would usually associate with Wolverhampton.

Jen

My friends and myself always used to visit a pub 2 or 3 times a week for either a meal or just a drink.

The price was not important as the pub was providing a social service. After all you can buy a jar of coffee for £2 and yet millions of people go to the coffee shop chains and pay up to £3.50 for just ONE cup.

Once the smoking ban came in none of us have been to a pub and spend our social times at home now.

We Only Need One Half!

I am amazed that the Varsity has closed, when I was at Wolverhampton Uni it was always packed, including lunch times, if a pub like that cant survive there's not much hope for the others!

Karen, you make a very valid point on the smoking ban, I never understood why it was not left up to individual pubs to decide, then if the health nazi's didn't want to go in to a smoking pub (if they could find one!) they didn't have too, and vice versa. Well done health nazi's, soon no one will have a pub!

Happy now?

London Bloke

Those of us who choose not to smoke have every right to a clean atmosphere, being a smoker does not make you special. I would not mind if smokers had their own segregated room in a pub where they could smoke as long as it had very efficient air extraction to prevent fumes billowing out over the rest of us. However that still means bar staff would be exposed to the smoke with the associated cancer risk and employers would be failing in duty of care by exposing them to it. No smoking is the way forward and if grotty nicotine stained rooms and coughing wheezing people are a thing of the past then great.

We Only Need One Half!

London Bloke, I have not suggested smokers are special, nor that you should be denied the opportunity to drink in a smoke free pub if you so desire, if you actually read what I have put, I said a pub knows its clientèle better than anyone, so, if pubs designated themselves smoking or not, you could make an informed choice, simple.

However, how long your non smoker pubs would last without the support of smokers is debatable, which is the whole point of the E&S article.

Has for bar staff being exposed, no ones saying a ban of smoking at the bar is unreasonable, as was the case in many pubs before the total ban, and I agree, they should have adequate ventilation provided behind the bar, but at the end of the day, if they want to work in a smoke designated pub, that would be their choice wouldn't it? I doubt you would get a vegetarian applying for a job in a abattoir, no matter how desperately they needed the job.

And one final thing, I don't actually drink alcohol, I used pubs to socialise, the days of drunken yobs being anti social, drink drivers killing people, not being able to use A&E on most nights because it is inundated with drunks, puke filled streets, random violent attacks, the fact you've no chance of getting a Police Officer to attend your address at weekends because they all tied up with dealing with idiots in the Town Centres etc should also be a thing of the past, but they aren't.

To use your rationale, are you therefore suggesting we should just have temperance pubs? After all, you are insistent I should not smoke because it offends and effects your health, but I could make the same argument for banning alcohol for the reasons given above, but I don't, I believe in choice!!!

But then, I'm no health Nazi!

Margaret Hamilton

Smoking in pubs is vile, why not have a pinch of snuff instead? People get their nicotine, they don't have to do it in the cold and wet, innocent non-smokers don't have to suffer, and snuff is so much cheaper that you've got loads left to spend on more beer in the pub. Pubs should put snuff (and paper tissues!) free on the bar for people to use. A fiver a week's outlay will bring back hundreds.

Chas

What and have all the germs sneezed over everybody. I buy my tobacco in Belgium and it costs me far less than snuff.

Floridawolf

Having lived in the USA for the last 5 years I have never felt threatened, never seeing any violence. The food is not great and the beer is certainly not on par with the British pint. But, American know how to pull in the punters - Happy hour cheap food and a friendly atmosphere , I know it’s a different culture , few people over here go to a "bar' to get drunk, but then there is no substitute for good customer service , something the Yanks do much better than the brits...

Chas

Using snuff will cause people to sneeze all their germs onto others. Buying my tobacco in Belgium is far cheaper than using snuff.

jowolvo

Chas, unfortunately tax on an average price pint of Beer is £1- I do wish it was 50p!

Very interesting debate but think the no smoking debate is old news and. It is so easy to think that the main reason for the decline but it isn't!

There are so many reasons for the decline of pubs but if Joe public can buy a crate of lager at the supermarket for the price of less than 2 pints,

Sheila.d

Sorry but you are WRONG.

The smoking ban is just as relevant today as it was five years ago. Despite all the enthusiastic press reports about the number of people signing up to smoking cessation clinics, there is just as many adult smokers today as there was in 2007. ( government,s own statistics ). The smokers left pubs in droves, unhappy that they were being denied the simple pleasure of being able to socialise in comfort. House parties have sprung up, with non smokers now joining their smoking friends, at home.

The legislation was wrong. This is not about anyone having the right to go into a smokefree environment, but rather that they should be able to CHOOSE to be able to do so.

jowolvo

Smoking ban means with my awful asthma I can drink in a pub happily so I have to oppose your view! That's all I will say further on smoking!

Chas

I was talking about duty. VAT is based on the total price so the cheaper the pint the less VAT is charged. NOBODY has EVER gone to a pub for cheap drinks

Pete

As anyone thought that because of dieing industries in the area shut down factories, foundries, and other workplaces that are full of houses built on there once existence that people have either 1 got no job 2 had to take a lower paid job or 3 working that many hours to pay to LIVEand SURVIVE in this over taxed country that likes to keep squeezing money out of the likes of us or give it away to foreign countries. There endeth the lesson !!!!!