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New lock-in police to protect Gloucester pubs

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 31, 2014

Mike Hall of The Pelican

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LOCKING in the long-term future of Gloucester’s pubs is a battle that starts now.

Pub owners will have to try selling on their boozer for six months before they will be allowed to convert it to a house or a supermarket.

City councillors have issued the ruling to stop Gloucester’s remaining pubs going the same way as once-popular drinking holes such as the Welsh Harp, in London Road, which is now a Tesco supermarket.

Councillor Andrew Gravells (C, Abbey), who launched the bid to save the city’s pubs, said: “The issue of pub closures is a city-wide issue.

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“Gloucester has a successful pub and beer scene and we need to do all we can to help them to survive by having up-to-date policies which close loopholes which have allowed developers to close them down. These loopholes in the planning system mean that pubs can be converted into betting shops or supermarkets without the need for planning permission, which denies the local community the voice and control over the future of their communities and these community pubs.”

Research shows that nearly 70 per cent of all adults believe that a well-run pub is as important to community life as a post office or a local shop.

Former community pub manager and councillor Norman Ravenhill (C, Abbey) said: “I ran pubs for 10 years and it is sad to see so many community pubs closing. We have got to protect them.”

It comes as two pubs which closed their doors in recent weeks have reopened under new management.

Voltage, in Brunswick Road, and The Union, in Westgate Street, have both been given a new lease of life.

Molly’s Bar, pictured below, is the new name for The Union. Landlady Jackie Nesbitt, whose nickname is Molly, said: “It is in a great location and it will make a fantastic Irish pub.”

She is planning to start serving food from Easter and is looking to turn it into a live music venue too.

Voltage reopened last Saturday under licensee Lewis Taylor. His bar manager Kelly Owen said they were considering changing the name back to Sloanes.

“We are planning to bring it back to doing food both day and night. There are very few places in Gloucester for families to come for a meal together.”

The Pelican, in St Mary’s Street, which dates back to the 17th Century, was saved from being converted into a house. It has been transformed under the management of licensee Mike Hall. Mike said: “It is important to protect our pubs.

“The good thing about Gloucester is that as soon as one closes, another one opens. I think people realise that Gloucester is a good place to open a pub.

“Pubs help to knit the community together when they have the right people running them.

“It has become harder to run pubs with all the legislation nowadays, the increases in beer duty and the smoking ban. But things feel like they are on the up now.

“It is great to hear that people like to come here to our pub.”

The pub is planning to hold its next annual festival on June 5 and 6 where drinkers will be able to enjoy 40 different beers and listen to live music.


The Welsh Harp, in London Road, top left, closed in 2008 and became a smack den before Tesco transformed it into a supermarket, below left.

The Golden Heart, in Tredworth, reopened in 2013 under new management.

The Union, in Westgate Street, closed in 2013 before reopening and closing again. It is now reopening as Molly’s Bar, inset.

The once-popular Sloanes bar, in Brunswick Road, made way for Voltage last year, which closed last month. It has since reopened.

The Bristol Hotel, in Bristol Road, closed in 2011 and is now the Shanghai Chinese restaurant.

The India House, in Barton Street, closed in 2011 and is now a Sainsbury’s Local.

The Northend Vaults pub in Northgate Street is opening again in April after undergoing a major re-fit.

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  • Mike_Smith_Gl  |  April 01 2014, 10:46AM

    This is a good move though bolting horses and stable doors come to mind. You forgot the Chequers in Painswick Road which is now a small residential estate. I now have no pub within walking distance and taxis are too expensive! At least, thanks to the Taxpayers' Alliance, the Government has removed the beer and spirits tax escalators.

  • Walker100e  |  March 31 2014, 8:53AM

    "Research shows that nearly 70 per cent of all adults believe that a well-run pub is as important to community life as a post office or a local shop" While this may well be true it is certainly the case that 70% of the communities do not visit their local otherwise they wouldn't be closing at the rate they are.

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