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Plummeting profits post-Covid behind Gornal pub closure decision

The gaffer of a Gornal pub said he has been left with no choice but to close it down due to plummeting profits.

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A photo of the Five Ways Inn on Himley Road, taken in 2019.

The Five Ways Inn on Himley Road is set to close its doors for the final time after council chiefs signed off on plans to convert it into apartments.

Ian Harris, 55, who has run the pub for the last 14 years with his wife Wendy, said they had been "fighting a losing battle" to keep it open as trade fell off following the pandemic.

"The Five Ways was a great pub and it was our regular for 15 years before we bought it," he said.

"But over the years the pub trade has been steadily declining and since reopening after Covid we have been fighting a losing battle to keep it open.

"We had people who used to come in two or three times a week who we never see. At the same time as trade has fallen off our electricity has trebled and the breweries keep putting the prices up.

"People have got used to drinking in the house now, and they can get a week's supply of beer from the supermarket for the same price as a few pints in the pub.

"One of our suppliers told me they sell beer to more homes than pubs now because so many people have got their own bar set up.

"We have reached the point where we can't afford to put any more money into it, and with a heavy heart, we have decided to close."

Mr Harris said he and his wife had "barely taken home a wage" last year after profits at the Five Ways slumped to around £5,000.

"That was with both us working seven days a week and hardly having a day off," he added. "We actually put it on the market as a pub but no one came forward.

"Who in their right mind is going to buy a pub these days? Only the major chains can survive, but even Wetherspoons are closing down pubs now.

He said he expects the Five Ways to close down within the next two months.

A scheme to extend the pub building and transform it into seven flats, which was put forward by Mr Harris, was backed by planners at Dudley Council at a meeting last month.

Gornal councillor David Stanley said the pub's closure will mark a "sad day" for the area.

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