Town pub to close as new habits take toll

PUB NO MORE: Landlord Sam Butler outside the Waggon and Horses in Sudbury, which shut on Friday.
PUB NO MORE: Landlord Sam Butler outside the Waggon and Horses in Sudbury, which shut on Friday.

Investment of more than £25,000 has failed to prevent a Sudbury pub from following others across the country in calling last orders.

The Waggon and Horses in Acton Square closed on Friday due to a decline in trade.

Sam Butler, who has been landlord for two years, attempted to regenerate the pub by refurbishing the bar area and overhauling the cellar, but said he had been unable to entice enough customers through the door to keep going.

“There has been a general downturn and there is a low level of people visiting pubs at the moment,” said the 33-year-old.

“We put a lot of money in at the start and there was no coming back from it. There is not the trade there used to be.”

An estimated 20 pubs shut in Britain every week with changing social habits, cheap alcohol from supermarkets and rising beer duty all blamed.

Former landlord Nick Irwin, who ran the Waggon and Horses – owned by Greene King – for 27 years, said it was a “great shame” the pub was closing.

“It has been going this way for some time and people don’t know what they’ve got till it’s gone,” he said.

“The community as a whole is going to lose out as this is a place where pool, darts and cribbage teams meet and very few pubs offer that. I feel very sorry for the landlord.”

Mr Irwin, a former Sudbury mayor, said the introduction of longer drinking hours had also played a part.

“That was the real nail in the coffin, as everyone drinks before going out,” he said.

Roger Chaplin, president of the Sudbury Motor Cycle Club, said the group was looking to find a new venue to hold its monthly meetings because of the closure.

A Greene King spokeswoman said the pub had been put up for sale at around £250,000.

“To continue to invest in our pubs, from time to time we have to make the difficult decision to close pubs,” she said.