Smoke ban blamed for pub closure

A PUB company has called last orders on a well-known Ipswich boozer after claiming the smoking ban has badly dented trade.

A PUB company has called last orders on a well-known Ipswich boozer after claiming the smoking ban has badly dented trade.

The Racecourse in Nacton Road looks set to be demolished and replaced with ten homes and retail space after Punch Taverns sought planning permission from the borough council.

Today, a spokesman for the company put the blame for the pub's demise down to the smoking ban, introduced in July last year.

“Punch Taverns can confirm that it has applied for planning permission for residential outlets on the site of the Racecourse in Ipswich,” the spokesman said.

“Punch regularly evaluates its pub portfolio to ascertain the best possible use for each of the sites.

“In the case of the Racecourse, where trade has suffered greatly because of the smoking ban, the company decided to pursue an alternative use of the site to maximise potential.”

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Gainsborough councillor John Mowles admitted the loss of another watering hole was a blow to the area.

“There will be some who feel it's a great shame,” he said.

“I was approached by someone who was very concerned that another pub was going to be lost. However, the council can't do much about it. If the owners want to change the use, it's their prerogative.”

The Racecourse opened in the 1930s to serve the developing south east Ipswich estates.

Mr Mowles said that should planners give Punch Taverns the green light to knock the building down, residents would be closely monitoring the proposed development.

“If the pub goes, we will be looking to see what kind of development will replace it.

“It is important it is in-keeping with the surrounding area.”

Sad to see the Racecourse go? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk