Devizes is set to lose yet another pub as Wadworth & Co applies for planning permission to convert The Artichoke in The Nursery into two houses.
The little pub near the canal has been closed since licensees Allison White and David Brogan left last Easter.
When the couple made their decision to go, Mrs White told the Gazette: “We are planning to leave because the margins are just not there and we cannot afford to keep taking a loss.”
Wadworth wants to convert the property into two two-bedroom houses.
A design and access statement accompanying the planning application said:
“Unfortunately, the pub, which is small and with no attractive outdoor space, has suffered from being outside the main town centre. There is simply no demand for the pub to continue.”
It is the latest in the recent line of pub losses to the town, caused, says Wadworth, by the Government’s continued increase on duty on alcohol and by the smoking ban.
The Royal Oak in New Park Street and the Elm Tree in High Street are now antiques centres, while The Rising Sun in Southbroom Road is now
a Domino’s Pizza joint and the Bikes ‘n’ Boards shop.
The Stage Post at West Lavington has been closed and boarded up for some time and the Kings Arms at Market Lavington has been converted to homes.
Anthony Brown, president of the Devizes Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is very sad that pubs have been failing. We feel it would be better if the premises had been retained for commercial purposes, but I suppose it is better to use existing buildings for housing than to build more down London Road.”
Don Jones, chairman of the Devizes branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, said that he couldn’t blame Wadworth for making the decision.
He said: “It’s a real shame. We are losing 26 pubs a week nationally because the escalating duty on beer is making it impossible for landlords to make a living. But it is another bit of our heritage being chipped away.”