Do Bradford's pubs have a future as last orders is called on more businesses?

Do Bradford's pubs have a future as last orders is called on more businesses?

The boarded-up Queen pub in Bradford. According to campaign group Camra Britain is now seeing an average 31 pubs closing every week

MP Greg Mulholland

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

ONCE again The Queen public house, opposite St George's Hall in Bradford, has closed down, prompting those interested in pubs to wonder whether this familiar aspect of daily life has much of a future.

Nothing new in that; over the past 20 years or so time has been called on more than 170 pubs in the Bradford district. CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) estimates that 31 pubs are closing in the UK every week - that's five up on the figures the organisation had in January.

Earlier this week, the T&A featured a new CAMRA campaign to change the law. At the moment a pub can be demolished or converted to another use without planning permission.

In January this year the historic Cock and Bottle on Barkerend Road, an area which has seen much change in the past 50 years, was being reshaped for a change of use by its owner who wanted to turn the building into a restaurant. Now a For Sale sign is on the pub and a legal process is underway.

MPs from the parliamentary Save the Pub group are backing CAMRA's campaign. Chairman of the group, Greg Mulholland MP, said: "It is not right that pubs, so often the heart of a community, can be converted into supermarkets or offices without developers needing planning permission.

"It is now accepted that any new betting shops need to get planning permission, but why the blind spot when it comes to all the fundamental changes that lead to the loss of a pub or the establishment of a new supermarket?"

He cited predatory supermarkets snapping up valued local pubs and debt-ridden pub companies off-loading pubs in spite of local public opinion, as factors that Parliament needed to consider."

Bradford East Liberal-Democrat MP David Ward is fully behind the campaign to change the law. "Pubs are part of the fabric of local communities," he said.

In the village of Bamford, Derbyshire, villagers threatened with the closure of the only remaining pub, The Anglers rest, did more than get up a campaign of protest: 328 of them clubbed up and raised more than £300,000 to buy the place and run it.

Instead of being just the local boozer like The Bull in the fictional village of Ambridge in The Archers, the long-running BBC radio everyday story of country folk, it is now the village hub, a meeting place for young and old alike.

Being a hub rather than just a pub might not go down well with old soaks who don't like too much change; but it may be the way to go for some pubs. Earlier this year Wilsden's New Inn took part in a month-long CAMRA campaign to promote pubs as community-centred.

The pub ran a book-borrowing and lending scheme when the local library was under threat. Charity nights were hosted and coffee mornings and craft markets were put on.

CITY CENTRE PUB SHUTS ON DAY OF CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT FURTHER CLOSURES

New Inn manager and licensee Miguel Schreck told the T&A at the time: "You have listen to what people want and try to do your best to accommodate. If people come in and leave with a smile on their face, nine time out of ten they are going to come back."

A good pub should be a home from home, a meeting place giving people a sense of belonging, said William Wagstaff, whose three pubs include the New Beehive Inn at Westgate, Bradford, and Jacob's Beerhouse, formerly Jacob's Well.

Apart from creating a good atmosphere and running a welcoming place, there wasn't a formula. "Everywhere is different. In Leeds you've got lots of cafe-bars. They are very popular because the population go for that.

"In Bradford they're looking for cheapness because of the low economic community. From being a strong drinking city Bradford has gone to the other extreme of being a very difficult place," he added.

In spite of the closure of the police station in the Tyrls and the Central Library building in Prince's Way, Mr Wagstaff has made a go of Jacob's Beerhouse but admitted that he would be a "nervous wreck" if he depended on it for his living.

Adaptability may make a difference. For example, he's turned the The New Beehive Inn into a hotel with 17 rooms which, he said, are nearly always full with visitors, tourists and business people. And every month the New Beehive Poets host a Monday night poetry reading.

Comments (12)

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3:51pm Fri 15 Aug 14

Robin of Loxley says...

Do Bradford's pubs have a future..?


Do bears sh!t in the woods ?
[quote]Do Bradford's pubs have a future..?[/quote] Do bears sh!t in the woods ? Robin of Loxley
  • Score: -7

4:08pm Fri 15 Aug 14

aletheia-emet says...

one article about churches being empty

one regarding shops being empty

one regarding pubs being empty

time to face reality - we need to come up with better business ideas rather than relying on state handouts or playing zombie on the way to work every morning.
one article about churches being empty one regarding shops being empty one regarding pubs being empty time to face reality - we need to come up with better business ideas rather than relying on state handouts or playing zombie on the way to work every morning. aletheia-emet
  • Score: -4

7:59pm Fri 15 Aug 14

mad matt says...

Another Enterprise Inns scam. They milk the business dry, shut it down then wait for the value of the land to increase before selling it.
Another Enterprise Inns scam. They milk the business dry, shut it down then wait for the value of the land to increase before selling it. mad matt
  • Score: 12

10:19pm Fri 15 Aug 14

Its Granola - Granola says...

mad matt wrote:
Another Enterprise Inns scam. They milk the business dry, shut it down then wait for the value of the land to increase before selling it.
Totally agree , enterprise .punch .admiral,etc ,all greedy ba##ards ,they have no interest in the licensed trade,they demand ridiculous rent,make sure all products and machine income is tied so what chance has a licensee got NONE sadly . One good thing that is coming out of this is there are a lot of micro breweries and small bars like the Fox ,Sparrow , Off The Tap , etc that are really bucking the trend. This is great for the drinker who likes a choice of ales or foreign beers . Who would have thought this 30 years ago when you had Tetleys ,John Smiths ,Bass, Whitbread ,etc .But then the breweries owned the pubs and sold there ale in them ,so it was a reasonable price , now with the pub (greedy bast.rd) companys there only income is from rent , and tied income .That is why so many pubs close down . Rant Over . for now .
[quote][p][bold]mad matt[/bold] wrote: Another Enterprise Inns scam. They milk the business dry, shut it down then wait for the value of the land to increase before selling it.[/p][/quote]Totally agree , enterprise .punch .admiral,etc ,all greedy ba##ards ,they have no interest in the licensed trade,they demand ridiculous rent,make sure all products and machine income is tied so what chance has a licensee got NONE sadly . One good thing that is coming out of this is there are a lot of micro breweries and small bars like the Fox ,Sparrow , Off The Tap , etc that are really bucking the trend. This is great for the drinker who likes a choice of ales or foreign beers . Who would have thought this 30 years ago when you had Tetleys ,John Smiths ,Bass, Whitbread ,etc .But then the breweries owned the pubs and sold there ale in them ,so it was a reasonable price , now with the pub (greedy bast.rd) companys there only income is from rent , and tied income .That is why so many pubs close down . Rant Over . for now . Its Granola - Granola
  • Score: 13

11:56pm Fri 15 Aug 14

mrs walker says...

The Queen is in a prime position for trade from the Interchange but needs some investment. It's not a pub I've ever really frequented though the few times I've been in the bar staff were pleasant enough. Unfortunately it didn't offer me anything I couldn't get elsewhere, and also felt quite intimidating to a single woman. Bradford is proving that being bog-standard doesn't really work. Despite the naysayers, there is money in the city, and for those of us that have no desire to run the gauntlet of a weekend night in Leeds, there are a few very nice pubs that it is a pleasure to drink in.

If I had the Queen (and if a lottery win were imminent, I'd probably give it a shot!) I'd revamp it to make the most of its frontage - that washed out spam colour looks terrible! - and give it some character inside and out so that it appealed to women as well as men. I'd do an excellent food menu and good coffee so that it appealed to lunchtime diners. And I'd have hanging baskets, and I'd straighten the lopsided lamp outside. And I'd run the toughest pub quiz in Yorkshire once a month, and open mic comedy nights. We do not have to be cheap - our quality ale houses prove this!

But I wouldn't do any of those things if I was having to buy all my beer through a pubco, as well as paying them rent that they can 'renegotiate' (upwards!) when it suits; it wouldn't be worth the effort.
The Queen is in a prime position for trade from the Interchange but needs some investment. It's not a pub I've ever really frequented though the few times I've been in the bar staff were pleasant enough. Unfortunately it didn't offer me anything I couldn't get elsewhere, and also felt quite intimidating to a single woman. Bradford is proving that being bog-standard doesn't really work. Despite the naysayers, there is money in the city, and for those of us that have no desire to run the gauntlet of a weekend night in Leeds, there are a few very nice pubs that it is a pleasure to drink in. If I had the Queen (and if a lottery win were imminent, I'd probably give it a shot!) I'd revamp it to make the most of its frontage - that washed out spam colour looks terrible! - and give it some character inside and out so that it appealed to women as well as men. I'd do an excellent food menu and good coffee so that it appealed to lunchtime diners. And I'd have hanging baskets, and I'd straighten the lopsided lamp outside. And I'd run the toughest pub quiz in Yorkshire once a month, and open mic comedy nights. We do not have to be cheap - our quality ale houses prove this! But I wouldn't do any of those things if I was having to buy all my beer through a pubco, as well as paying them rent that they can 'renegotiate' (upwards!) when it suits; it wouldn't be worth the effort. mrs walker
  • Score: 11

6:49am Sat 16 Aug 14

BCFC1911 says...

mrs walker wrote:
The Queen is in a prime position for trade from the Interchange but needs some investment. It's not a pub I've ever really frequented though the few times I've been in the bar staff were pleasant enough. Unfortunately it didn't offer me anything I couldn't get elsewhere, and also felt quite intimidating to a single woman. Bradford is proving that being bog-standard doesn't really work. Despite the naysayers, there is money in the city, and for those of us that have no desire to run the gauntlet of a weekend night in Leeds, there are a few very nice pubs that it is a pleasure to drink in.

If I had the Queen (and if a lottery win were imminent, I'd probably give it a shot!) I'd revamp it to make the most of its frontage - that washed out spam colour looks terrible! - and give it some character inside and out so that it appealed to women as well as men. I'd do an excellent food menu and good coffee so that it appealed to lunchtime diners. And I'd have hanging baskets, and I'd straighten the lopsided lamp outside. And I'd run the toughest pub quiz in Yorkshire once a month, and open mic comedy nights. We do not have to be cheap - our quality ale houses prove this!

But I wouldn't do any of those things if I was having to buy all my beer through a pubco, as well as paying them rent that they can 'renegotiate' (upwards!) when it suits; it wouldn't be worth the effort.
Sounds lovely

You however forgot to add in needle bins in the alley next to the pub as this a common dealing and consumption area. Also wouldn't bother with food as most of the Queens regulars are alcies blowing their dole money
[quote][p][bold]mrs walker[/bold] wrote: The Queen is in a prime position for trade from the Interchange but needs some investment. It's not a pub I've ever really frequented though the few times I've been in the bar staff were pleasant enough. Unfortunately it didn't offer me anything I couldn't get elsewhere, and also felt quite intimidating to a single woman. Bradford is proving that being bog-standard doesn't really work. Despite the naysayers, there is money in the city, and for those of us that have no desire to run the gauntlet of a weekend night in Leeds, there are a few very nice pubs that it is a pleasure to drink in. If I had the Queen (and if a lottery win were imminent, I'd probably give it a shot!) I'd revamp it to make the most of its frontage - that washed out spam colour looks terrible! - and give it some character inside and out so that it appealed to women as well as men. I'd do an excellent food menu and good coffee so that it appealed to lunchtime diners. And I'd have hanging baskets, and I'd straighten the lopsided lamp outside. And I'd run the toughest pub quiz in Yorkshire once a month, and open mic comedy nights. We do not have to be cheap - our quality ale houses prove this! But I wouldn't do any of those things if I was having to buy all my beer through a pubco, as well as paying them rent that they can 'renegotiate' (upwards!) when it suits; it wouldn't be worth the effort.[/p][/quote]Sounds lovely You however forgot to add in needle bins in the alley next to the pub as this a common dealing and consumption area. Also wouldn't bother with food as most of the Queens regulars are alcies blowing their dole money BCFC1911
  • Score: -3

9:14am Sat 16 Aug 14

llos25 says...

Its Granola - Granola wrote:
mad matt wrote:
Another Enterprise Inns scam. They milk the business dry, shut it down then wait for the value of the land to increase before selling it.
Totally agree , enterprise .punch .admiral,etc ,all greedy ba##ards ,they have no interest in the licensed trade,they demand ridiculous rent,make sure all products and machine income is tied so what chance has a licensee got NONE sadly . One good thing that is coming out of this is there are a lot of micro breweries and small bars like the Fox ,Sparrow , Off The Tap , etc that are really bucking the trend. This is great for the drinker who likes a choice of ales or foreign beers . Who would have thought this 30 years ago when you had Tetleys ,John Smiths ,Bass, Whitbread ,etc .But then the breweries owned the pubs and sold there ale in them ,so it was a reasonable price , now with the pub (greedy bast.rd) companys there only income is from rent , and tied income .That is why so many pubs close down . Rant Over . for now .
If you new the facts of the original purchase contract you would not write such ill informed rubbish.
[quote][p][bold]Its Granola - Granola[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mad matt[/bold] wrote: Another Enterprise Inns scam. They milk the business dry, shut it down then wait for the value of the land to increase before selling it.[/p][/quote]Totally agree , enterprise .punch .admiral,etc ,all greedy ba##ards ,they have no interest in the licensed trade,they demand ridiculous rent,make sure all products and machine income is tied so what chance has a licensee got NONE sadly . One good thing that is coming out of this is there are a lot of micro breweries and small bars like the Fox ,Sparrow , Off The Tap , etc that are really bucking the trend. This is great for the drinker who likes a choice of ales or foreign beers . Who would have thought this 30 years ago when you had Tetleys ,John Smiths ,Bass, Whitbread ,etc .But then the breweries owned the pubs and sold there ale in them ,so it was a reasonable price , now with the pub (greedy bast.rd) companys there only income is from rent , and tied income .That is why so many pubs close down . Rant Over . for now .[/p][/quote]If you new the facts of the original purchase contract you would not write such ill informed rubbish. llos25
  • Score: -3

9:59am Sat 16 Aug 14

Here today says...

Lets mention the elephant in the room......THE SMOKING BAN appears to have caused 90% of pub closures, meanwhile in the city Shisha bars have set up and the law turns a blind eye because it's "cultural".


double standards.
Lets mention the elephant in the room......THE SMOKING BAN appears to have caused 90% of pub closures, meanwhile in the city Shisha bars have set up and the law turns a blind eye because it's "cultural". double standards. Here today
  • Score: 4

1:39pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Out of site says...

Here today wrote:
Lets mention the elephant in the room......THE SMOKING BAN appears to have caused 90% of pub closures, meanwhile in the city Shisha bars have set up and the law turns a blind eye because it's "cultural".


double standards.
It's our culture we should be concerned with.
[quote][p][bold]Here today[/bold] wrote: Lets mention the elephant in the room......THE SMOKING BAN appears to have caused 90% of pub closures, meanwhile in the city Shisha bars have set up and the law turns a blind eye because it's "cultural". double standards.[/p][/quote]It's our culture we should be concerned with. Out of site
  • Score: 7

4:29pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Here today says...

Out of site wrote:
Here today wrote:
Lets mention the elephant in the room......THE SMOKING BAN appears to have caused 90% of pub closures, meanwhile in the city Shisha bars have set up and the law turns a blind eye because it's "cultural".


double standards.
It's our culture we should be concerned with.
Our culture is being stripped away from us piece by piece to accomodate other cultures, few of which bear any similar ldeals to ours and show no tolerance for our "norms".
[quote][p][bold]Out of site[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Here today[/bold] wrote: Lets mention the elephant in the room......THE SMOKING BAN appears to have caused 90% of pub closures, meanwhile in the city Shisha bars have set up and the law turns a blind eye because it's "cultural". double standards.[/p][/quote]It's our culture we should be concerned with.[/p][/quote]Our culture is being stripped away from us piece by piece to accomodate other cultures, few of which bear any similar ldeals to ours and show no tolerance for our "norms". Here today
  • Score: 1

5:33pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Robin of Loxley says...

Here today wrote:
Out of site wrote:
Here today wrote:
Lets mention the elephant in the room......THE SMOKING BAN appears to have caused 90% of pub closures, meanwhile in the city Shisha bars have set up and the law turns a blind eye because it's "cultural".


double standards.
It's our culture we should be concerned with.
Our culture is being stripped away from us piece by piece to accomodate other cultures, few of which bear any similar ldeals to ours and show no tolerance for our "norms".
The BNP/EDL forum is that way >>>>>>>
[quote][p][bold]Here today[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Out of site[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Here today[/bold] wrote: Lets mention the elephant in the room......THE SMOKING BAN appears to have caused 90% of pub closures, meanwhile in the city Shisha bars have set up and the law turns a blind eye because it's "cultural". double standards.[/p][/quote]It's our culture we should be concerned with.[/p][/quote]Our culture is being stripped away from us piece by piece to accomodate other cultures, few of which bear any similar ldeals to ours and show no tolerance for our "norms".[/p][/quote]The BNP/EDL forum is that way >>>>>>> Robin of Loxley
  • Score: 7

2:05am Wed 20 Aug 14

MrQuinque says...

The really crazy one was the Ring'o'Bells on Bolton road, a Grade 2 listed bar in a conservation area, granted planning permission to convert to an office for a Law firm which now stands empty with a "To Let" sign on it. And this was after it was effectively impossible to get a viewing of the place for several months before it actually sold. What could've been an interesting gastro-pub opposite one of the Broadway anchor stores is now yet another empty office in a City already well served in that regard.

I
The really crazy one was the Ring'o'Bells on Bolton road, a Grade 2 listed bar in a conservation area, granted planning permission to convert to an office for a Law firm which now stands empty with a "To Let" sign on it. And this was after it was effectively impossible to get a viewing of the place for several months before it actually sold. What could've been an interesting gastro-pub opposite one of the Broadway anchor stores is now yet another empty office in a City already well served in that regard. I MrQuinque
  • Score: 1

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