Hopes pub will help to revive town nightlife

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Spalding’s Hole in the Wall pub is being taken over by one of the town’s popular landlords in the hope nightlife in the town centre can be revived.

The pub will be closed for the next two weeks for refurbishment of the inside and outside.

Pete Williams, who runs the Punchbowl in New Road, said: “We are hoping to recreate the pub crawl in the centre of town. It’s suffered badly with pubs closing and we’ve lost some punters to Stamford and Peterborough. But hopefully we can change that.”

Mr Williams’ investment comes as licensees across South Holland are hoping Chancellor George Osborne calls time on the crippling beer duty escalator, which is believed to be responsible for 18 pubs a week closing across the country.

Figures calculated by industry body the British Beer and Pub Association predict the average price of a pint of five per cent strength beer will be £4.86 by 2020, a rise of 44 per cent.

The smoking ban has also been blamed for pubs closing, but Mr Williams regards taking on The Hole in the Wall in difficult trading times as a positive.

It will be the second time round for Mr Williams, who sold the pub ten years ago. But in refurbishing it and making it shoppers’ friendly with bar snacks in the day, he hopes it will have a knock-on effect and attract new custom in the evening.

Full details of the re-opening will be available soon and Mr Williams said he would welcome any ideas customers might have, such as running quiz or poker nights.

He said: “People might think this is not an ideal time to take on a new pub. Fortunately, we are busy enough.

“It’s freezing cold and I’m grateful to people who do come out.

“It seems pubs have been on the end of a kicking forever.

“I don’t know how much more the Government thinks we can take.”