Will the last person to leave Baldock please turn out the lights…

PUBLISHED: 11:44 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:08 06 May 2010

The George and Dragon pub – the latest victim in a town losing its trade

The George and Dragon pub – the latest victim in a town losing its trade

A PUB dating back more than 400 years has called time and closed, becoming the latest victim in a town that is losing its trade. The George and Dragon, on Hitchin Street, Baldock, dates back to the 16th century when it was a coaching inn. But over recent

Cllr Ian Knighton – “I do sympathise with the local traders. It’s not easy”

A PUB dating back more than 400 years has called time and closed, becoming the latest victim in a town that is losing its trade.

The George and Dragon, on Hitchin Street, Baldock, dates back to the 16th century when it was a coaching inn.

But over recent months the pub has struggled to bring in customers and the last pint has finally been pulled.

A spokesman for the brewery, Greene King, said: "It's up for sale because it just doesn't fit with our current estate."

But the pub joins at least four other outlets which have recently closed their doors in the town: Bob's Bathrooms on Whitehorse Street, Rogie's Headquarters on Hitchin Street and the Goldcrest Inn and Change of a Dress - formerly Truly Scrumptious - on High Street.

One concerned resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "It's slowly turning into a ghost town. A few shops have shut and now pubs. Where will it end?

"Things are getting slowly worse but, to be honest, even if more shoppers came to Baldock there is nowhere for anyone to park apart from Tesco. So, where do they go? This is going to become a one shop town."

Pc Steve Gibbs of the Baldock community team said: "There is a big feeling of antagonism against the bypass and Tesco but we can't really pinpoint the blame."

He added: "They have really made a big impact on the town and it's an issue without a doubt."

North Herts District Council is ploughing £2m into a regeneration project planned for Baldock town centre in 2008, in a bid to look at new ways to attract people to the area.

The Highways Agency, responsible for building the bypass, is also putting £750,000 into the spending pot.

Cllr Ian Knighton said: "Over the last few years there have been a number of shops closing.

"Tesco has had an impact on the retail side of Baldock but the store is there and there's nothing we can do about it. We have to work with it.

"We are always trying to encourage new business within the town.

"We have funding coming in 2008 to help bring new life into Baldock and the town centre partnership is working together to see how it can further the well-being of the town.

"I do sympathise with the local traders. It's not easy. But it's about being realistic and seeing what we can do.

"It's also about getting the right type of outlets in the town. We need to try to encourage specialists like Chapman's the butchers.

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