Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Last Orders for the London Hotel?

I wrote in December that I had heard rumours that the London Hotel, Windsor Road, Southport, may close. I wrote to Oakwell Brewery to ask what the position was. I eventually received the following reply from Lyn Booth, the managing director: "We have applied for outline planning for the site, which had to come back to us so a report on that occupation could be undertaken. This has now been completed and plans resubmitted, though I must make it clear that we are still trying to find a buyer for the site that would keep this outlet open - though as it is in a loss making position, this is a very hard task."

The London fits the description of community pub for reasons I explained more fully here. It was built in 1866 and is situated in a residential area that isn't well served for pubs. The beers are from Oakwell Brewery; they include Barnsley Bitter and are very reasonably priced. The pub has several rooms, ideal for meetings, and a bowling green. There are various teams that use it as a home base.

This pub isn't doing anything wrong; it seems to me that in general, conventional, slightly old-fashioned pubs in residential areas are particularly struggling. I don't know why, but if pressed to express a view, I'd guess that drinking habits have changed and people are more inclined to go into town and city centres rather than their local if they want a night out. It would be a shame if this pub were to close and the site sold for housing, but regrettably that is an increasingly common occurrence around here.

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