8th April 2009
Reports that Punch Taverns is selling more of its pubs to Tesco shows clearly the dishonesty of the British Beer and Pub Association and its 'pubco' clients. Whilst blaming supermarket pricing for the closure of community pubs, Punch Taverns and other ‘pubcos’ are actively working with developers to convert their pubs into supermarkets.
Punch’s argument that the pubs are unviable and they have no option but to sell these pubs to be converted into alternative uses is clearly undermined by the case of the Sara Siddons in Warwick. After being found out by the local community, Punch have quickly found a tenant and also the money to refurbish the pub.
An investigation by Fair Pint Campaign has also discovered that Enterprise Inns is quietly trying to sell a number of its pubs through an estate agency called New Ballerino. The agent is offering around 20 pubs for sale with covenants restricting the sale of draught beer or preventing use as a pub altogether.
The pubs are being sold on the basis that they can be redeveloped. Some of the pubs are for sale with vacant possession despite the fact that tenants are in place and trying to trade their pub in difficult times with many years left on their lease.
The Fair Pint Campaign is calling on the BBPA and the 'pubcos' to come clean and confirm that viable pubs are still being closed and prepared for sale to supermarkets and developers.
Steve Corbett from the campaign said:
“Once again it seems that the BBPA’s public position is a dishonest one. After spending so much time and effort to try and convince MP’s that supermarkets are hurting pubs we find out that the ‘pubcos’ are closing more pubs to sell to Tesco and other developers. It’s vital that MP’s press government to stop this practise and provide protection for communities that care about pubs even when their owners don’t”
1. The Sara Siddons a Punch owned pub in Warwick was closed by Punch who claimed that the pub was unviable and there was no option but to convert it into an alternative use. The company strated negotiations with Tesco to convert the pub into a supermarket. Pressure from the local community led Punch to change its mind and despite originally claiming that the property had no viable future as a pub has now invested money to improve the pub and is looking for a new tenant.
There are countless examples of pubcos working with developers to convert pubs into supermarkets including the Walnut Tree in Leamington Spa, where protesters are trying to prevent Punch selling the pub to Tesco to be converted to a supermarket.
2. To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact Andrew Smith or Sarah Hyder at Connect Public Affairs on 020 7222 3533 or firstname.lastname@example.org