Community pub closure warning

Craig Southall, general manager for Yates and chairman for Blackpool Pubwatch

Craig Southall, general manager for Yates and chairman for Blackpool Pubwatch

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PUB bosses have claimed community-friendly bars in Blackpool are under serious threat of closure as alcohol prices continue to rise.

Dave Daly, North West chairman of Licensees Unite, says the life expectancy of community pubs is becoming significantly shorter as taxation on beer increases.

The Fylde coast has lost 12 pubs in three years and a recent survey conducted by the Real Ale Campaign group (CAMRA), revealed Lancashire’s pubs have been hardest hit.

Blackpool’s The Bloomfield, The Windmill and The Royal have all closed down, while CAMRA’s report found that between September and March of last year, eight pubs closed every week in towns and four closed in the region’s rural areas.

Mr Daly, owner of the Castle Drive pub, on Central Drive, said: “The pub closures were all iconic sites in the community.

“There was a huge sense of loss and I think there should be an inquiry before any pub closes. The supermarkets are a major factor because if they sell alcohol cheaper people will stay in their homes.”

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Craig Southall, head of Pub Watch in Blackpool, echoed Mr Daly’s calls and says the town centre bars are clear of danger because of Blackpool’s drinking culture.

He added: “The community pubs are suffering and they are the ones falling by the wayside.

“If you look back it all started with the smoking ban and since then they have had a tough time.”

An e-petition has now been set up to end the above-inflation beer tax increase of 42 per cent since 2008.

Mr Southall added: “The cost of beer is going up and the community pubs can’t take the weight of that.

“The e-petition is fantastic because the amount of tax they pay on beer every year is rising.”

Lee Le Clerq, the northern secretary for the British Beer and Pub Association, added: “The saving grace for pubs has been diversification in to food. Pubs that do food are doing OK, but those who don’t are more likely to be close.”

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