HEREFORDSHIRE appears to be bucking the national trend for pub closures, despite the great challenges facing the industry.

The coronavirus pandemic placed extraordinary pressure on pubs and the hospitality sector as lockdowns forced closures, while demand took a hit as punters chose to stay at home to avoid catching the virus.

New data from real estate advisers Altus Group shows there were 233 pubs in Herefordshire as of June – only two down from 235 in March 2020, before the first coronavirus lockdown.

The Hereford Times has been tracking closures in Hereford alone for some time. But we need your help to keep our list of lost pubs up to date. Please click on the blue button at the bottom of this story to report any pub closure we have overlooked (the list as it stands is here).

Pub numbers across England and Wales have dropped below 40,000 for the first time, with 200 lost between the end of 2021 and the end of June.

This decline started long before the pandemic – nationally 7,000 pubs have been shuttered over the last decade.

Altus Group said these pubs will likely have been demolished or turned into residential and office space.

The figures cover pubs that pay business rates, including those vacant and offered to let.

Altus Group said pubs could have fared worse during the pandemic, and instead proved “remarkably resilient" during the economic turbulence.

However, its UK president Robert Hayton warned that they are now dealing with "soaring energy costs, inflationary pressures and tax rises” which may force more pubs to close their doors.

Research by the British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and UKHospitality shows only 37 per cent of hospitality businesses are turning a profit at present.

The rising costs of energy, goods and labour have been blamed for falling profits, and the industry is now calling on the Government to provide more support.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “When pubs are forced to close it’s a huge loss to the local community, and these numbers paint a devastating picture of how pubs are being lost in villages, towns and cities across the country.

“As a sector we have just weathered the hardest two years in memory, and we now face the challenge of extreme rising costs, with only one in three hospitality businesses currently profitable.

“It’s essential that we receive relief to ease these pressures, or we really do risk losing more pubs year on year.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy said: “We understand the challenges that the pubs sector is facing.

"This is why we are supporting pubs across the UK with 50 percent business rates relief, freezing alcohol duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits and increasing the employment allowance.

"This is in addition to the billions in grants and loans offered throughout the pandemic.”

Community answers

Tell us about a lost pub of Hereford we should add to our list

"Is there a pub, now gone forever, that we have missed? Let us know. Say why you miss it and add a picture, if you wish."

We asked for your responses - this is what you sent.

From George Matthews

Name of pubWestern Vaults

Which street/area was it in?Commercial Street

What year did it close (if you know)?Don’t know. It is now Papa Johns pizza joint

Add your memories of the pub, if you wish

From Community contributor

Name of pubSwan Inn

Which street/area was it in?Unknown

What year did it close (if you know)?Unknown

Add your memories of the pub, if you wish

Add a photo, if you have one

Hereford Times: This was an image used by Crown Devon Pottery on their “Coaching Days” range. I have been unable to identify the location of the actual pub but would be interested to know if it still existsThis was an image used by Crown Devon Pottery on their “Coaching Days” range. I have been unable to identify the location of the actual pub but would be interested to know if it still exists