A third of our pubs close in 10 years
MORE than a third of pubs in Stockport have closed in the last decade.
There are now about 155 pubs and bars in Stockport, 85 fewer than in 2008, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Economics of Ale Report.
The situation has been reflected across the north west, where 26 per cent of pubs and bars have closed in the last 10 years, leaving 4,460 in the region.
John Clarke, chairman of the Stockport and South Manchester branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said ‘the combined effects of the financial crash and the smoking ban had a significant effect on pub trade.’
“Add in lifestyle changes, a wider range of non pub-focused social activities, increasing prices, squeezed incomes and, in some cases, unrealistically high pub rents, and the number of closures is not really a surprise,” he added.
“Old industrial towns like Stockport also have another issue – many pubs were built in the areas where people lived and worked but no longer do so – Hillgate is a prime example.”
However John said that, in his opinion, the decline in Stockport had ‘bottomed out’ and pub numbers were actually on the up.
He added: “Recent losses have more than been balanced out by new or reopenings, for example the Wellington Free House, the Petersgate Tap, Heaton Hops, Project 53 and, very recently, the Angel Inn in the Market Place (reopened after 67 years closure) – and there are others.
So, while over the period since 2008 there has been a marked decline in numbers, as far as Stockport goes that has been halted and arguably reversed.”
The ONS figures show that, despite the decline in pub numbers, the turnover of the industry has remained strong. While the number of establishments has declined, there are more employees working in pubs than there were 10 years ago. In Stockport, the average pub employs eight staff in 2018, up from five in 2008. The report suggests this may be because surviving pubs have moved on to also offering food or accommodation.
John agreed, saying: “This reflects the fact that more pubs are focusing on food, which obviously requires more staff, and perhaps also better staffed bars with an emphasis on customer service.”
Despite this, there has been a drop of 13pc in the total Stockport pub workforce, to 1,750 this year.