Pubs: Last orders for 50 Oxfordshire pubs in five years

Tony Goulding, pubs officer for the Oxford branch of Camra

Tony Goulding, pubs officer for the Oxford branch of Camra

First published in News Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

FIFTY Pubs in Oxfordshire have called last orders in the past five years with campaigners blaming beer tax hikes and supermarkets for choking the trade.

The Oxford Mail can reveal that an Oxfordshire pub has closed every 36 days since 2007.

Licensees and drinkers say that a 42 per cent hike in beer taxes over that period has left the industry in turmoil.

Tony Goulding, pubs officer of the Oxford branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), said supermarkets selling cheap alcohol, the recession, the introduction of the smoking ban in 2007 and a change of cultural habits had all hurt the industry.

But he said the beer duty was now a “crippling burden” for landlords. He added: “It is scandalous that we are one of the worst countries in the world for beer tax.”

The duty escalator, which raises beer tax annually by inflation plus two per cent, started in 2009 and will run until at least 2014.

Mr Goulding added: “I think we haven’t reached the worst times yet. Nothing is safe.”

Peter Fowler, landlord of the Shoulder of Mutton in Wantage, said four years ago landlords could expect to make 59p profit on every pint but now could expect just 12p.

Housing developers are among those to have taken advantage of the decline, with at least 12 of the closed pubs turned into, or set to become, homes.

Supermarkets now own at least four former pubs, including the Fitzharris Arms and the Ox in Abingdon which were converted into Tesco Express supermarkets last year. Old Marston in Oxford has lost the Bricklayers Arms, the Cavalier and the Friar.

Parish council chairman Charlie Haynes said: “There are only a couple of places you can go to now. It’s so sad really, as all these meeting places have gone.

“It takes out the heart of the village.”

The last pub in the west Oxfordshire village of Ascott-under-Wychwood, the Swan, closed in 2010.

Villager John Cull, 64, said: “The pub is a important resource for the community to come together.

“It has been closed for two years but we are ever hopeful it could reopen in the future and continue with its proud tradition and history.”

Vale of White Horse Camra branch chairman Neil Crook said pubs were surviving but the successful ones were those free from pub company leases.

He said: “Pubs need the freedom to make the choices on what beers they buy and what they pay.

“The pub companies will pass on their increases to the landlords, however, the landlords often have difficulty in passing on that to the clients without losing them.”

A spokesman for Suffolk-based brewer Greene King, which owns many county pubs after buying Morland of Abingdon in 1999 and acquiring the Morrells of Oxford pub estate in 2002, said: “We regularly review our estate to look for opportunities to invest and develop our pubs, as demonstrated by our investment in pubs including the Boundary House and the Black Swan in Abingdon.

“We have sold three pubs in the Oxford area in the past two years as going concerns and another pub is closed pending a decision about its long-term future.

“To continue to invest in our pubs and to provide the best experience and surroundings for our customers we do sometimes have to make the difficult decision to close pubs which have become unviable as businesses, due to a reduction in the number of customers using them.”

Oxfordshire pub closures in the past five years:

Oxford

 

  • Osney Arms – Botley Rd. Closed 2011.
  • Fox & Hounds – Abingdon Rd. Closed in 2007.
  • George Inn – Botley Rd. Closed in 2011. Now a Richer Sounds shop.
  • Woodstock Arms – Woodstock Rd. Closed in 2011. Now demolished.
  • Bricklayers Arms – Old Marston. Closed in 2011. Now a house.
  • Cavalier – Copse Ln, Marston. Closed in 2008. Demolished and flats to be built.
  • Crown and Thistle – Old Rd, Headington. Currently closed.
  • Shelley Arms – Cowley. Closed in 2011. Now set to become housing.
  • Elm Tree – Cowley Rd. Closed in 2007. Now a restaurant.
  • Brewery Gate – St Thomas Street. Closed in 2010. Now a house.
  • Duke of York – St Ebbe’s. Closed 2008 and demolished.
  • Queens, then the Blue Mile – Littlemore. Currently closed.
  • General Elliot – South Hinksey. Closed in 2008.
  • White House – Botley Rd. Closed in 2010. Now a bar and restaurant.
  • Chester Arms – Chester St. Closed in 2011.
  • Market Tavern – Market St. Closed June 2007. Now a restaurant.
  • Cock & Camel – George St. Closed in 2008. Now a restaurant.
  • Next Door – Holywell St. Closed in 2008.

Vale of White Horse

  • Fitzharris Arms – Wootton Rd, Abingdon. Closed and sold to Tesco in 2011.
  • Ox – Oxford Rd, Abingdon. Closed and sold to Tesco in 2011.
  • Snooty Fox – Littleworth. Closed in 2010. Now a restaurant.
  • Lamb – West Hanney. Closed in 2010. Now a restaurant.
  • Thatched Tavern – Appleton. Closed in 2007.
  • Duke of Wellington – Faringdon. Closed in 2011. Now has planning permission for housing.
  • Anchor – Stanford in the Vale. Closed in 2011. Now subject of planning application for housing.

West Oxfordshire

 

  • Star Inn – Witney Rd, Eynsham. Closed in 2010. Now housing.
  • Saddlers – New Yatt, near Witney. Closed and future uncertain according to Camra.
  • House of Windsor – West End, Witney. Closed in 2010.
  • Swan Inn – Islip. Currently closed.
  • Black Head – Stonesfield. Closed in 2009.
  • Albion Tavern – Chipping Norton. Closed in 2010. Planning permission granted 2011 for housing.
  • Bell Inn – Chipping Norton. Closed 2011.
  • Off The Beaten Track – Chipping Norton. Closed 2011.
  • Swan – Ascott-under-Wychwood, closed in 2010.
  • Swan – Long Hanborough. Closed 2012. Now a house.
  • Killingworth Castle – Wootton, nr Woodstock. Currently closed.
  • Crown – Finstock. Closed in 2011. Now a house.
  • Harrow – Enstone. Currently closed and for sale.

North Oxfordshire

  • Woolpack – Banbury. Closed 2010.
  • Blackstock Arms - Banbury. Closed in 2009. Now a Tesco.
  • Unicorn – Banbury. Closed 2008.
  • Cricketers Arms – Banbury. Closed 2009. Now housing.
  • Bishop’s Blaize – Sibford Gower. Closed 2007.
  • Pioneer – Bicester. Closed 2008-9. Now a restaurant.
  • White Lion – Steeple Aston. Closed 2011.
  • George and Dragon – Fritwell. Closed 2009.
  • King’s Head – Fritwell. Closed 2011.

South Oxfordshire

  • Waterwitch – Didcot. Closed 2011. Now housing.
  • Lamb – Satwell. Closed 2012.
  • Dog and Duck – Highmoor. Closed 2011.

Comments (12)

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10:54am Thu 9 Aug 12

snert says...

I'm waiting for the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury to start their own brewery and get in on the pub trade.
I'm waiting for the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury to start their own brewery and get in on the pub trade. snert
  • Score: 1

12:16pm Thu 9 Aug 12

Bartsimpson_uk says...

I'm still waiting for the hoards of non smokers that said they would flock to the pubs once the smoking ban came into place!!
I'm still waiting for the hoards of non smokers that said they would flock to the pubs once the smoking ban came into place!! Bartsimpson_uk
  • Score: -30

12:39pm Thu 9 Aug 12

Arc/Weld says...

Why not leave it to the discretion of the landlord? All you need are two signs 'This is a smoke friendly pub'. 'This is a smoke free pub'. That way we all have freedom of choice.
Why not leave it to the discretion of the landlord? All you need are two signs 'This is a smoke friendly pub'. 'This is a smoke free pub'. That way we all have freedom of choice. Arc/Weld
  • Score: -1

2:39pm Thu 9 Aug 12

marma495 says...

Ark/Weld,
A voice of sanity and common sense.
The only downside is that certain people would say that it would prevent them from entering, even though they never had any intention of coming in the first place.
Well five years have elapsed. No change in public health. Thousands of lost pubs, jobs and a struggling economy. The experiment has failed miserably.
Ark/Weld, A voice of sanity and common sense. The only downside is that certain people would say that it would prevent them from entering, even though they never had any intention of coming in the first place. Well five years have elapsed. No change in public health. Thousands of lost pubs, jobs and a struggling economy. The experiment has failed miserably. marma495
  • Score: 0

2:48pm Thu 9 Aug 12

chas says...

The duty on a pint is about 50p. Does anybody really think that a few pence reduction back into pubs?
Thousands of pubs and clubs have closed since the smoking ban. The only way to stop the decline is to give publicans a choice of whether to allow smoking or not in their own property.
The duty on a pint is about 50p. Does anybody really think that a few pence reduction back into pubs? Thousands of pubs and clubs have closed since the smoking ban. The only way to stop the decline is to give publicans a choice of whether to allow smoking or not in their own property. chas
  • Score: 0

8:52am Fri 10 Aug 12

EMBOX1 says...

It has nothing to do with smoking, which has thankfully become as anti-social as drink driving is.

The reason is this: People are changing, and they choose to spend their leisure time in front of the TV, on the internet, at a coffee shop, or wherever else they choose.

There is massive competition for people's disposable income, and pubs have lagged behind in being an attractive offering.

Who wants poor pub grub and awful chemical drinks when you can go to a restaurant, get half decent food and wine for the same price?

Look at the gastro pubs, and how well they do - always busy, because they know what brings the modern pub goer in. Guess what? No smoking in there either.

It's not Fosters and a bag of pork scratchings anymore. People's tastes are far, far above that now.
It has nothing to do with smoking, which has thankfully become as anti-social as drink driving is. The reason is this: People are changing, and they choose to spend their leisure time in front of the TV, on the internet, at a coffee shop, or wherever else they choose. There is massive competition for people's disposable income, and pubs have lagged behind in being an attractive offering. Who wants poor pub grub and awful chemical drinks when you can go to a restaurant, get half decent food and wine for the same price? Look at the gastro pubs, and how well they do - always busy, because they know what brings the modern pub goer in. Guess what? No smoking in there either. It's not Fosters and a bag of pork scratchings anymore. People's tastes are far, far above that now. EMBOX1
  • Score: 3

10:28am Fri 10 Aug 12

Sid66 says...

If I could smoke I would go out more.
If I could smoke I would go out more. Sid66
  • Score: -1

8:03pm Fri 10 Aug 12

greenius says...

A third of what you pay for a pint of beer is tax... this is far higher than almsot every country in Europe. Pleas sign the e-petition at http://saveyourpint.
co.uk/ which when it gets to 100,000 signatures will force a serious debate in parliament. It is currently over 81000 signatures, so only another 18000+ are needed.
A third of what you pay for a pint of beer is tax... this is far higher than almsot every country in Europe. Pleas sign the e-petition at http://saveyourpint. co.uk/ which when it gets to 100,000 signatures will force a serious debate in parliament. It is currently over 81000 signatures, so only another 18000+ are needed. greenius
  • Score: 0

4:07am Sat 11 Aug 12

Whopper w/o Pickle Cornmarket St says...

EMBOX1 wrote:
It has nothing to do with smoking, which has thankfully become as anti-social as drink driving is.

The reason is this: People are changing, and they choose to spend their leisure time in front of the TV, on the internet, at a coffee shop, or wherever else they choose.

There is massive competition for people's disposable income, and pubs have lagged behind in being an attractive offering.

Who wants poor pub grub and awful chemical drinks when you can go to a restaurant, get half decent food and wine for the same price?

Look at the gastro pubs, and how well they do - always busy, because they know what brings the modern pub goer in. Guess what? No smoking in there either.

It's not Fosters and a bag of pork scratchings anymore. People's tastes are far, far above that now.
Embox Smoking is a legal activity and our taxes keeps you in your benefits. Personally I think that your posts are far more offensive.
[quote][p][bold]EMBOX1[/bold] wrote: It has nothing to do with smoking, which has thankfully become as anti-social as drink driving is. The reason is this: People are changing, and they choose to spend their leisure time in front of the TV, on the internet, at a coffee shop, or wherever else they choose. There is massive competition for people's disposable income, and pubs have lagged behind in being an attractive offering. Who wants poor pub grub and awful chemical drinks when you can go to a restaurant, get half decent food and wine for the same price? Look at the gastro pubs, and how well they do - always busy, because they know what brings the modern pub goer in. Guess what? No smoking in there either. It's not Fosters and a bag of pork scratchings anymore. People's tastes are far, far above that now.[/p][/quote]Embox Smoking is a legal activity and our taxes keeps you in your benefits. Personally I think that your posts are far more offensive. Whopper w/o Pickle Cornmarket St
  • Score: -35

8:34am Sat 11 Aug 12

jamesp says...

The smoking ban is not to blame. Try the recession and people's lack of disposable income. Just because there has been a decline in pubs in the last 5years does not mean the two events are related.

This is basic cause and effect people. Think about it.
The smoking ban is not to blame. Try the recession and people's lack of disposable income. Just because there has been a decline in pubs in the last 5years does not mean the two events are related. This is basic cause and effect people. Think about it. jamesp
  • Score: 2

9:47am Sun 12 Aug 12

Man on the Green says...

This is a depressing list which includes some very good pubs that truly offered good beer in welcoming surroundings; many also offered good food at competitive prices. I knew and frequented a fair few of them.

There is still a market, albeit shrinking, and the best of the rest that are left have had to alter their offer to continue to meet demand. Times have changed, and I don't actually believe it's got anything at all to do with the smoking ban. If anything, I'd say that many drinkers are happier to go out now that there's no smoking in their pubs.

This really is a case of "use it or lose it", however. I hear many people bemoan the loss of their local pubs, but if I ask when they last went for a pint, they acknowledge it was quite a while ago.

P.S. Ww/oPCSt: I found your riposte to EMBOX1 OTT. There's no need for this sort of purely speculative personalisation, and it doesn't advance the discussion one jot.
This is a depressing list which includes some very good pubs that truly offered good beer in welcoming surroundings; many also offered good food at competitive prices. I knew and frequented a fair few of them. There is still a market, albeit shrinking, and the best of the rest that are left have had to alter their offer to continue to meet demand. Times have changed, and I don't actually believe it's got anything at all to do with the smoking ban. If anything, I'd say that many drinkers are happier to go out now that there's no smoking in their pubs. This really is a case of "use it or lose it", however. I hear many people bemoan the loss of their local pubs, but if I ask when they last went for a pint, they acknowledge it was quite a while ago. P.S. Ww/oPCSt: I found your riposte to EMBOX1 OTT. There's no need for this sort of purely speculative personalisation, and it doesn't advance the discussion one jot. Man on the Green
  • Score: 3

10:08pm Sun 12 Aug 12

Whopper w/o Pickle Cornmarket St says...

Man on the Green wrote:
This is a depressing list which includes some very good pubs that truly offered good beer in welcoming surroundings; many also offered good food at competitive prices. I knew and frequented a fair few of them.

There is still a market, albeit shrinking, and the best of the rest that are left have had to alter their offer to continue to meet demand. Times have changed, and I don't actually believe it's got anything at all to do with the smoking ban. If anything, I'd say that many drinkers are happier to go out now that there's no smoking in their pubs.

This really is a case of "use it or lose it", however. I hear many people bemoan the loss of their local pubs, but if I ask when they last went for a pint, they acknowledge it was quite a while ago.

P.S. Ww/oPCSt: I found your riposte to EMBOX1 OTT. There's no need for this sort of purely speculative personalisation, and it doesn't advance the discussion one jot.
you are wrong on smoking. Sorry but you are wrong, I respect your opinion but like hitlers it is wrong.
[quote][p][bold]Man on the Green[/bold] wrote: This is a depressing list which includes some very good pubs that truly offered good beer in welcoming surroundings; many also offered good food at competitive prices. I knew and frequented a fair few of them. There is still a market, albeit shrinking, and the best of the rest that are left have had to alter their offer to continue to meet demand. Times have changed, and I don't actually believe it's got anything at all to do with the smoking ban. If anything, I'd say that many drinkers are happier to go out now that there's no smoking in their pubs. This really is a case of "use it or lose it", however. I hear many people bemoan the loss of their local pubs, but if I ask when they last went for a pint, they acknowledge it was quite a while ago. P.S. Ww/oPCSt: I found your riposte to EMBOX1 OTT. There's no need for this sort of purely speculative personalisation, and it doesn't advance the discussion one jot.[/p][/quote]you are wrong on smoking. Sorry but you are wrong, I respect your opinion but like hitlers it is wrong. Whopper w/o Pickle Cornmarket St
  • Score: -33

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