Thursday, 5 March 2009

Not Just Scumball Pubs Closing

The BBC has the story that revered brewer Harvey's of Lewes is to close the Bull's Head, the only pub in a village called Boreham Street in East Sussex. It looks a nice gaff and no doubt there are good reasons why it must go and doubtless it will be offered for sale free of covenants preventing it becoming a pub again. (Well I might be wrong about that.)

The decline in pub going is everywhere, as is its consequences, but it is poignant to see the only pub in a village close. As one local said, "It's part of what makes us who we are, the British pub. I'm really sorry to hear it's closing".

You really do have to use it or lose it.

You can read the story on the BBC here.


Karman said...

I heard Neil Morrisey waxing on the radio yesterday (I'd like to say waxing lyrical, but that would be pushing the definition of lyrical too far)trying to raise awareness of what was happening to the trade. If people don't wake up to this shift, it'll too late. As they say in the adverts "Once it's gone, it's gone".

Unknown said...

Personally I think it is just wrong for a property to be sold with covenants that restrict future use. If CAMRA started a campaign about this I'd be right behind it.

But you correctly identify the problem. People aren't using pubs. We can't expect them to stay open if footfall is falling.

Tim said...

It is the cheap chain boozers such as JDW houses that are causing a fair bit of the problem. That's why it strikes me that on one hand CAMRA complain about pub closures, but on the other hand seem to be in bed with JDW. It's pretty hypocritical.
Sorry about the anti CAMRA slant (again!), but I think just think it's sad when decent pubs close and JDW are a significant problem.

Ed said...

How cosy are CAMRA with Weatherspoons? I know there's a CAMRA membership form in the Weatherspoons magazine, and CAMRA members can get free Weatherspoons vouchers but does it really go further thatn that?

Tandleman said...

Tim - I doubt if that is the problem this time, as the nearest JDW is 8.5 miles away in Eastbourne.

As for JDW and CAMRA generally, that is a matter of debate, but my view is pubs always need to compete. If they can't they lose out. Price is only part of the overall "offer". If pubs can't compete due to the PubCos bleeding them dry and restricting choice - again not the whole story, but a part of it - that's a different matter and one that needs action from the competition authorities.

JDW it seems has driven a wedge in there and carved itself a market. That, like it or not, is capitalism. CAMRA operates in the real world too, as do its members. I am sure CAMRA would happily get in bed with any pub chain that offers to promote CAMRA membership, major on real ale and give away freebies.

Micro brewers like JDW too. They provide a market, pay a decent price and they pay on time. That's the real world. I am not the biggest JDW fan in the world, but most complaints seem to me to be snobbery rather than altruism.

Curmudgeon said...

I agree with Tandleman about Wetherspoon's. They're never going to be my ideal pub, but they are obviously successful, they strongly feature real ale and they've injected much-needed competition into a pub trade that was often very complacent.

Anonymous said...

Well said Curmudgeon