A total of 235 pubs have called orders for the last time and “vanished” from the communities they once served in the first six months of the year, it was revealed this morning.
Data produced by the Altus Group shows that an average of 40 pubs a month have closed since January. All have been demolished or converted into other types of use such as homes and offices.
Cost pressures, low margins and business rates have been blamed for forcing pubs to the wall.
Altus Group noted that there was some good news in that the rate at which pubs are disappearing is slowing. In the same period last year, the number of closures was 76.
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 1 January 2019, down 914 during the 2018 calendar year. That number declined further by 235 to 41,301 on 30 June 2019.
Alex Probyn, president of expert services at Altus Group, said 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 while 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.”
Mr Probyn added: “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.”
Summary: Pub numbers in England and Wales
1 January 2018: 42,450
1 January 2019: 41,536
30 June 2019: 41,301
The numbers include those vacant and being offered to let.