Pubs ‘Vanishing’ Stabilise Ahead Of Reopening

With excitement growing ahead of the pubs being allowed to reopen on ‘Super Saturday’ in England, the sector have been dealt a shot in arm with the number of pubs ‘vanishing’, those having called last orders for the final time, stabilising despite having been closed since 20th March through the coronavirus lockdown.

Analysis of official Government data by the real estate adviser Altus Group reveals that the overall number of pubs in England and Wales, including those vacant and to let, fell to 40,835 at the end of the first half of 2020 down just 228 during the first half of 2020 despite their enforced closure.

Pubs In England & Wales By Region

Region H2 2019 H1 2020 6 Month Difference
South East 5,876 5,843 33
North West 5,480 5,446 34
South West 4,797 4,777 20
Yorkshire/Humberside 4,432 4,415 17
West Midlands 4,085 4,059 26
East of England 3,856 3,820 36
East Midlands 3,688 3,672 16
London 3,660 3,649 11
Wales 3,152 3,130 22
North East 2,037 2,024 13


Altus Group says this compares with a loss of 235 pubs during the first half of 2019 and 473 during the whole of 2019.

Overall Pub Numbers In England & Wales

H2 2018 41,536
H1 2019 41,301
H2 2019 41,063
H1 2020 40,835


But the rate at which pubs are ‘vanishing’ from the communities that they once served, either being demolished or converted into other types of use, such as homes and offices, has halved from the 914 lost during the whole of 2018.

Robert Hayton, Head of U.K. business rates at Altus Group, says Government measures to support pubs during the period of lockdown have undoubtedly helped but urged caution saying:

“Pubs in England and Wales are receiving a 1 year business rates holiday worth £768.12m which started on 1st April as well being eligible for £557.94m in grant funding. These interventions have gone a long way to saving our pubs ensuring that they can reopen safely. However, some change of use applications may have been held up due to delays in local planning whilst it also remains to be seen, once the first few cold beers have been downed, the impact on trade new strict rules will have moving forward.”