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Future bleak for Yarmouth pubs

PUBLISHED: 14:59 07 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:35 30 June 2010

The future for Great Yarmouth's pubs looks bleak after up to half of the town's drinking holes closed in the last five years, a worried councillor has claimed.

The future for Great Yarmouth's pubs looks bleak after up to half of the town's drinking holes closed in the last five years, a worried councillor has claimed.

Mick Castle, borough councillor for Central and Northgate ward, says that since the general election of 2005 about 30 pubs, bars and clubs have called last orders in Yarmouth - leaving only about 30 remaining.

And, in an ironic twist, the Labour councillor blamed his own party's pub smoking ban for being one of the main reasons for the town's drinking den cull.

He said the government only originally planned to ban smoking from food pubs while leaving “traditional boozers” alone but that ministers had been persuaded to widen the ban by health organisations.

Mr Castle's fears over the large number of pubs, bars and clubs that have closed came after he compared the numbers of them in a pre-general election Yarmouth telephone directory to a current one.

And it is not just Yarmouth that has seen many pub closures; in the last year alone, Gorleston has seen at least three pubs shut.

He said: “I am sure the government did not plan for traditional pubs to close because of the smoking ban.

“Pubs in Yarmouth are largely populated by older people because older smokers are prepared to stand out in the wind and rain to smoke.

“By contrast, younger drinkers prefer to get a case of cheap lager from supermarkets and stay at home drinking because they can't see the appeal of standing in the rain and cold to smoke.

“I think there is a bleak future for Yarmouth's pubs and clubs.”

Some of the pubs, bars and clubs that Mr Castle has seen close include the Two Bears, Rudeys and Rasputins, the Barking Smack and the Admiral Seymour.

Rod Esherwood, of the Yarmouth and Lowestoft Licensed Victuallers Association, said that as well as the smoking ban, pub landlords had problems with high rents and the loosening of the licence laws in 2003.

He said: “It is very hard at the moment to be a pub landlord.”

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