Hampshire landlord issues bleak warning over pub trade

WARNING Greg Clark who is the landlord of the Golden Lion in Southwick and The Florence Arms, Southsea.  Pictures: Ian Hargreaves  (113347-1)
WARNING Greg Clark who is the landlord of the Golden Lion in Southwick and The Florence Arms, Southsea. Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (113347-1)
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THE landlord of two pubs fears more closures and job losses within the industry this year.

Greg Clark blames a hike in beer prices and alcohol-related anti-social behaviour problems for people shying away from their local boozers.

He added that changing social habits were also reasons behind the bleak outlook for 2012.

Mr Clark, who runs the Golden Lion, in Southwick, and The Florence Arms, in Southsea, said: ‘I think every landlord is a bit nervous at the moment.

‘We’re not sure what further constraints are going to be put on us by the government this year.

‘A lot of people also associate pubs with anti-social behaviour and health problems now, and that’s a big worry.

‘It’s going to be a tough year with further closures and job losses.’

The 55-year-old is also calling on surviving pubs to change their tactics and think of new ways to pull in customers.

He is now offering his own customers a wider selection of non-alcoholic drinks to keep up with the times.

‘Pubs now need to think about what their unique selling point is,’ he said.

‘It’s about offering more than just alcohol. When people come into my pubs now, they sit on the sofa, have a chat and drink a latte. Thirty years ago you wouldn’t get a coffee in a pub. The industry needs to change with the times.’

Dozens of Portsmouth’s pubs have closed in recent months.

Time was called at The White House in Eastney Road, Portsmouth, in September after it was put on the market due to a decline in trade.

The former White Hart pub, in White Hart Lane, and the Linden Lea pub, in Portchester, have also been converted into Co-op stores.