JD Wetherspoon says it has sold a Redfield pub to a housing developer — which denied making the purchase.
The St George’s Hall, on Church Road, will close down on September 19, with all staff offered jobs at other Wetherspoon pubs in Bristol.
The chain told Bristol Live the buyer is Landrose, but when we approached the developer, its spokesperson said: “This is incorrect information, Landrose has not acquired this building.”
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When we put this to Wetherspoon, it told us again that Landrose — a private company based at Deben House in Lawrence Hill — is the buyer. We asked Landrose why it had denied making the purchase, but it is yet to respond.
It would not be the first Redfield pub recently acquired by Landrose. The firm announced in June that it had completed a redevelopment of the Three Crowns, which was a Victorian pub on Blackswarth Road.
The developer renamed the site “Kings Court”, replacing the pub with “nine modern flats, each containing three to four individual studio units set within a large communal area”.
Landrose’s website bills it as a provider of “outstanding sustainable homes across Bristol and the south”. The company, incorporated in 2019, describes its homes as “powered by green energy”, with a focus on “repurposing redundant buildings”.
Its website says: “We commission local artists to design large colourful murals covering our developments when possible, in fitting with the fantastic mural art you can find in areas such as Bedminster, Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft.
“This attitude of environmental responsibility and sustainability from the development will also be reflected through the ecological measures we will take to ensure that the local wildlife can continue to thrive.
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“We will install hedgehog holes in all fences and barriers on all of our developments, with bat boxes on our roofs as well as wildflower rooftop cladding where possible. Likewise, we install solar panels interspersed throughout the rooftop areas of our projects in order to provide sustainable hot water for our units.”
It adds: “Our co-living developments focus on providing spacious, bright, independent studio apartments containing their own bathroom and living area, with a larger shared kitchen and living space for every 2-4 flats.”
One regular at the St George’s Hall said some customers have been trying to take “anything that’s not nailed down” as a memento of the boozer, adding: “There was one bloke asking for a picture of John Wayne on the wall.”
The fate of St George’s Hall has long been a matter of speculation. The twisty saga started in the spring of 2019, when Wetherspoon revealed plans to sell it after disappointing financial results.
The pub was among 16 UK Wetherspoon branches set to be sold after those results, dismaying regulars at the Redfield watering hole. One said at the time: “It’s a community pub and I’ll be really sad to see it go.”
There was a u-turn in November 2019, when Mr Gershon said: “There had been an offer to purchase it, but after consideration, we decided to continue to run it as a Wetherspoon pub. All the staff have been told and are delighted with the decision. We trust that our loyal customers will welcome the good news too.”
But Wetherspoon accepted an offer for the pub in May this year, prompting next month’s closure. Asked the reason for the sale, Mr Gershon said: “On occasion the company sells pubs and this is the case here.”
The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on Wetherspoon’s finances. The chain reported a pre-tax loss of £46.2million in its six-month results in March.
Research revealed in 2019 that the St George’s Hall was the cheapest Wetherspoon pub in Bristol, its customers spending an average of £2.72 for a pint.
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