Headlines: January 8th, 2009

A local council has stepped in to offer pub landlords help to ensure they can keep their premises open. Herefordshire Council is contacting licensees in the wake of the decision by Punch Taverns to offer 500 of its pubs for sale to licensees.

The council believes the Punch taverns chain currently owns pubs in Herefordshire, about half of which are in rural areas, although it doesn’t know how many of these are affected by the announcement to sell to existing licensees. The authority has writen to the landlords to let them know grants may be available to upgrade their pubs and to make them more profitable.

Anthony Bush, the council’s parish liaison and rural services officer, said, “Like post offices and village stores, the local pub can often be an essential part of the fabric of the community, especially in rural and remote areas. It is difficult to say how many pubs may potentially be for sale. So we are getting in touch with licensees to see if they have been offered the pub and let them know of the potential to provide support for the pubs to upgrade their offering and make the outlet more sustainable in the longer term”.