WINCHELSEA is set to lose one of it’s last remaining pubs.
The Bridge Inn, at the bottom of Strand Hill, has been closed for some time.
Now it has been revealed that the historic 15th century coaching inn has been sold off at auction for £300,000 to a firm of local developers who are looking to re-develop the site into residential property.
Robert Cockayne, of auctioneers Christie and Co, said: “The property boasts traditional bar and restaurant areas, with living accommodation above.
“Following an extensive marketing programme, which generated a large amount of interest and multiple bids, the attractive village pub has been acquired by a local purchaser.
“The sale of The Bridge Inn represents the strong ongoing demand we’re experiencing for businesses in the Rye area.
“In the last 12 months alone we have completed on three sales in the area, with more expected to complete soon.”
The Castle pub, in Winchelsea’s Castle Street closed years ago. Now only the New Inn remains.
It follows a growing national trend of pub closures. An average of 16 pubs a week, in the UK, were closing their doors every week last year.
John Mail, head of public affairs for the Campaign for Real Ale, said pubs had been hit by a triple whammy of increase in beer duty, competition from supermarkets and pub companies selling beer to their tenants at inflated prices.
He said: “High Street pubs are still benefiting from people drinking after work but in outlying areas the supermarket is often the cheaper and favoured alternative.”
Pubs in the Rye area that have disappeared include the Six Bells and Rother Valley Arms at Northiam and the Royal Oak at Beckley.
But there have been some good news stories too.
The Royal Oak at Pett was saved from being auctioned off as a private house by villagers who got together and bought it at auction to preserve it as a pub, while Pett’s other plocal The Two Sawyers re-opened after a period of closure and is now doing very well.
The Plough at Cock Marling, Udimore, is now thriving following a period of closure some years ago.
The Rye area is faring better than the Battle area, which has been hit by a number of closures in recent years.
Hurst Green has lost three of its four pubs, while Etchingham has lots it’s only village local and Burwash too has been badly hit.
CAMRA Chief Executive, Mike Benner, said: “Pubs are so central to our society that whole communities can grow around a particular pub. A threat to the future of traditional pubs is therefore also a threat to countless social groups within Britain that thrive because of their local.
“Unsustainable beer tax increases by the Government are ripping the heart out of community centres.”