This week, the Dog and Partridge closed in Whaley Bridge. Pubs close every week these days, but I wonder how many more will close before some sort of cohesive approach is taken to reverse the trend.
In this case, it was a case of dwindling takings set against increasingly unrealistic rents set by Enterprise.
The pub itself was immensely popular with the locals and regularly had six hand pumps on the go, plus a beer festival once a year. Open fires, good basic lunchtime food, what’s not to like. But, with little passing trade and people out to work if they are lucky, even a loyal customer base couldn’t save it.
One does despair at the mind set of the pubco’s who seem hellbent on destroying so much of their estate. Of course, increasingly, we see that the pubco can exploit a planning loophole and sell to a supermarket chain without applying for a change of trade, but do we need another Tesco??
Just down the road, the White Hart, owned by Punch is now closed for a well overdue refurb and will cost a pretty penny if my visit in its last week is anything to go by. So costs must be recouped and that rent will surely go up. In the case of the D&P however, you’d be had pressed to find a more traditional pub so you would have thought that Enterprise could have been more flexible in trying to keep a good pub open.
CAMRA is a stated supporter of real ale and it would seem logical that a dialogue with the pubco’s and a stated target to campaign to keep good locals open would be top of their agenda.