Permanent closure of pub confirmed - but Wetherspoons 'may return' to town centre
- Credit: Archant
The permanent closure of one of Stevenage's Wetherspoons pubs has been confirmed, the Comet can reveal.
The J D Wetherspoon chain - which also runs The Standing Order in Old Town, Hitchin's The Angel Vaults Inn and The Three Magnets in Letchworth - confirmed that The Standard Bearer at The Plaza, Town Square, will not reopen, after closing when the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Representatives from the pub chain announced today (July 15) that The Standard Bearer - which has served residents for two decades - closed in line with Stevenage Borough Council's regeneration plans, but hoped to return in the near future.
In a statement, the company said: “The Standard Bearer Stevenage closed at the start of the first lockdown period last year, in March 2020.
“We had been in discussions with Stevenage Borough Council, prior to the pandemic, agreeing to surrender the lease - as the pub location forms a key site within their regeneration proposals.
“Pub staff were informed in advance of the closure and all employees, including the pub manager, were offered roles at other Wetherspoon pubs of their choice.
“The majority have been transferred to pubs in Stevenage, Letchworth and Hitchin.
“Wetherspoon has traded from The Standard Bearer for the last 20 years, which has been very successful.
“We are monitoring the ongoing regeneration of Stevenage town centre and may potentially return - if we can find the appropriate site - in the future.”
A Stevenage Borough Council spokesperson said: "SBC was made aware of Wetherspoons' intention not to re-open their premises in Stevenage town centre last year. This was a commercial decision for Wetherspoons based on the trading conditions of the site.
"Wetherspoons has retained its presence in the Old Town - The Standing Order - and we will look to promote new suitable opportunities within the town centre as the regeneration progresses.
"A major part of the town’s regeneration plans is increasing footfall in the town centre through providing homes and jobs, and increasing the range of different activities on offer – meaning that more people will visit the town centre, and stay for longer when they do.
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"This will, in turn support, our existing businesses as well as attract new ones. This includes promoting more places to eat and drink, to keep the town vibrant in to the evening and offer a wider range of experiences.
"This approach has already seen new brands invest in the town, including Cakebox, Chateau Café, Wenzels, Noodle Stop and a new Turkish restaurant along Queensway. Both before and during the pandemic, town centres have faced significant challenges from online shopping and edge-of-town retail parks.
"The changes we are promoting in the town, such as the regeneration of Queensway North, the Town Square and North Block, and the SG1 scheme with a new Garden Square to provide outdoor eating spaces, will support our town centre as it adapts to these challenges."