A total of 235 pubs have disappeared from communities in Britain in the first half of 2019, according to the latest research by real estate data company Altus Group. This equates to an average of 40 pubs a month closing their doors, never to re-open.
Alarming though the news is, the rate at which they are vanishing slowed down on the back of recent government support, including a recent freeze on alcohol duty.
Pubs are vanishing, by either being demolished or a change of use such as homes or offices, at almost half the rate of last year, when 76 pubs disappeared each month.
In the past 18 months 1,149 pubs shut their doors in England and Wales.
Pubs have come under enormous pressure due to rising costs, including businesses rates which have had a devastating effect, cheaper supermarket alcohol and changing leisure habits, and an increase in the minimum wage.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said it is positive that the rate of closures has slowed down but too many pubs have already been forced to close.
She said: “Cost pressures, principally extortionate business rates, are pushing too many pubs to the margins and high streets are being squeezed.
We have heard various members of the Government say they wish to stimulate investment in high streets and support businesses.
“If they are serious, then they need to tackle these increasing costs – otherwise, more pubs will close.”
Alex Probyn, president of expert services at Altus, said that Government measures to support the future of pubs may be having an impact.
He said: “Since legislative changes in May 2017, pubs looking to respond to the changing market have been able to expand their food offer without the cost and uncertainty of having to apply for planning permission.
“Meanwhile, 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 its demolition or change of use.”