Pubs under threat from smoke ban - claim

AS many as 20 pubs in Ipswich could be closed within two years of the new smoking ban being introduced, a top publican has warned.

AS many as 20 pubs in Ipswich could be closed within two years of the new smoking ban being introduced, a top publican has warned.

Shaun de Silva, the town's Pubwatch chief and landlord of the Brewers Arms in Orford Street, told The Evening Star he fears a number of “local boozers” could be lost forever as a result of the ban.

As of July 1 smoking will be prohibited in public spaces throughout England.

Mr de Silva said in the past few months there have already been around 20 pubs in the town on the market out of a total of more than 200.

He said the impact of stay-away drinkers could mean many more pubs going on the market and he fears some may not be bought because of concerns over drops in profit margins.

Mr de Silva, who has spent £20,000 creating a smoking area at the back of the Brewers Arms, said: “I personally think a percentage of pubs will not be able to withstand the smoking ban.

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“Some of the heavy boozers will take the attitude that they may as well stay at home with some beers.

“I don't want to scaremonger but statistics in Ireland and Scotland show that 17 per cent of pubs have experienced losses of up to 20pc.

“My concern is some of the pubs will be lost forever, especially ones that could be developed for housing.

“I would say at least ten per cent of pubs in Ipswich will not be around in a couple of years' time.

“It is more than likely it will be the periphery pubs - working men's pubs - that will be affected more than anything.”

The smoking ban will be enforced in Ipswich by the borough council.

Officers say they are concentrating on working with businesses rather than threatening them.

The council has received £64,000 from the Department of Health to help it implement the changes.

Are you an Ipswich landlord concerned about the ban? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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