The number of UK pubs and bars has risen for the first time in a decade, according to latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Since 2009, pubs across the UK have been closing at a rate of around 700 per year. However, in 2019 this decline abruptly stopped, with a net gain of 320

So, is there a local rise in the popularity of pub ownership? Licensed trade specialist, Paul Collins of Miller Commercial’s business transfer department, believes there is.

“The interest in licensed premises that we saw in 2019 has continued into 2020, which very much supports the figures from the ONS,” he said.

“Miller Commercial Sold and Let a number of pubs and bars in 2019 to a mix of both experienced hospitality professionals and first-time entrants to the trade. In each transaction it was apparent to me that the new owners/operators are looking to refocus these venues as the social hub within their given communities, be this a traditional village Inn or town centre venue.

“One of the most important aspects to the success of many of these ventures is the need to embrace rapidly changing dining habits with the growth in veganism, gluten free dining and of course the desire for customers to understand the provenance of their food.

“We have recently been instructed to manage the portfolio of Keltek Cornish Brewery who have several pubs within the county and on each occasion that we have advertised the availability of one of these pubs to lease we have been very pleasantly surprised at the volume of enquiries we have received. Indeed, it would be fair to say that the demand for pubs on both a freehold and leasehold basis is at its highest level for several years.”