The North East's pub sector is in ‘robust’ health according to a Newcastle commercial property specialist.
Christie & Co, which has an office in Newcastle, recently completed the sales of pubs in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Chester-le-Street, Bedlington, Ferryhill and Shildon.
Only one of the seven pubs has been sold for change of use - The Torrens in Sunderland - which has been bought to convert to retail use. Of the remainder, The Attic in Newcastle, The Barrington Arms in Bedlington, The Black Bull in Ferryhill and the Queens Head in Shildon have all been bought by experienced pub and bar operators and investment is planned in each site.
The Borough Arms in Gateshead and Studio nightclub in Chester-le-Street have also been bought by existing operators but are to be operated as food-led licensed outlets.
According to associate director and pub negotiator, Mark Worley, who handled the sales, it shows life is on the up for the region’s pubs and bars which are well-placed to capitalise on increasing consumer confidence and economic regeneration.
Worley said: “We are very pleased that the robust market has continued through to the end of the year and certainly the signs are looking good for a continuation into 2014.
“It is once again very pleasing to be able to report that the vast majority of licensed businesses which are sold across the North East are being retained as pubs and bars. Indeed we are currently negotiating the sales of a further 20 sites which will hopefully complete either before the year-end or in the early part of the New Year and the overwhelming majority of these are being purchased with a view to on-going pub use.”
Meanwhile it is good news on business rates for pubs in the Autumn Statement. The British Beer & Pub Association welcomed the Chancellor’s decision in his Autumn Statement to extend Small Business Rate Relief to April 2015, which will avoid a £27m bill for thousands of pubs across the UK.
Brigid Simmonds OBE, BBPA Chief Executive, said: “These are very positive steps on Business Rates, and the Chancellor was right to champion pubs in his speech. We welcome the Chancellor’s decision to extend Small Business Rate Relief which was one of the first objectives of the Better Rates for Pubs campaign. It shows real support from the Government for pubs, and that BBPA calls are being heeded.”