During the first 6 months of 2019, around 40 pubs a month, a total of 235, ‘vanished’ from the communities that they once served having called last orders for the final time according to the real estate adviser, Altus Group.
The rate at which pubs are either being demolished or converted into other types of use such as homes and offices almost halved from 76 a month in 2018.
Analysis of official Government data by Altus Group reveals that the overall number of pubs in England and Wales, including those vacant and to let, fell to 41,536 on 1st January 2019 down 914 during the 2018 calendar year. That number declined further by 235 to 41,301 on 30th June 2019.
Cheap supermarket booze, 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 heaped pressure on pubs.
Alex Probyn, Altus Group UK President, says Government measures to support pubs to remain viable may be having an impact: “Since legislative changes in May 2017, pubs looking to respond to the changing market have been able expand their food offer without the cost and uncertainty of having to apply for planning permission whilst local communities through the community right to bid provisions now have a say on the future of their local by the listing of a public house as an asset of community value which results in an automatic removal of the permitted development rights for it’s demolition or change of use.
“The new retail relief, which discounted business rates bills by a third from 1st April for smaller pubs in England, will certainly have helped to ease cost pressures with the average small pub saving £6,052.”