Alarming downturn sees one in five North Somerset pubs shut down

The Old Mill in Portishead.

The Old Mill in Portishead. - Credit: Archant

Pubs across North Somerset are shutting down at an alarming rate, with one in five closing their doors since 2008.

A total of 65 pubs have shut across North Somerset in the past 10 years, with 20 closures taking place in 2017.

Last year saw The Old Barn in Wraxall close, while in recent times The Friendship Inn in Nailsea and The Bell Inn in Congresbury made way for housing.

In Portishead, The Old Mill in High Street shut after going into administration, while The Drum & Monkey in Kenn is advertising for a new tenant, leaving its future as a pub uncertain.

The South West has the third worst rate of pub closures in the UK, with 940 establishments shutting down since 2001, placing the region in line with an alarming national trend.

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New figures from The Office for National Statistics have revealed that 25 per cent of UK pubs have shut down since 2001 – a statistic which brings the hospitality industry’s woes into sharp focus.

The real ale group CAMRA has called on the Government to act ‘to save our pubs from extinction’, blaming poor regulation and increasing tax for landlords for the downturn.

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Lauren Archell, senior communications manager for CAMRA, said: “Pubs play a unique role in offering a social environment to enjoy a drink with friends. They combat isolation and help people feel connected to their community.

“Pubs are facing an overwhelming burden in terms of tax made up of beer duty, rapidly rising business rates and VAT.

“We know that once a pub is closed and converted to a shop, or block of flats, the community never get it back, which is why its so important to help protect our locals while they are open.”

CAMRA is calling for an urgent reform to business rates and a lower rate of duty for beer sold in pubs to help combat the problem.

The campaign is also calling for a full review of the Pubs Code, a document that regulates the country’s pub industry.

Despite a number of closures, a few new pubs have sprung up across the county in recent years. The White Hart in Weston-in-Gordano has thrived after reopening and The Rising Sun in Backwell continued after being taken over by a new company.

The Old Mill in Portishead will reopen under new management in December.

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