Licensed premises struggling

A long list of Wigtownshire hotels and pubs are listed for sale on a commercial property website leading to speculation that the credit crunch and new licensing laws may be affecting the pub trade.

Last year Dumfries and Galloway Licensing Board brought in new legislation banning licensed premises from selling alcohol after 1am, except in Dumfries and Stranraer town centres.

Licensed premises affected now have to apply to the board each time they want to stay open for an extra hour open for a party of special entertainment.

This has led to drinkers heading out of town in droves to get more drinking time.

Licensed premised for sale include: The Wigtown Ploughman, The Galloway Inn and Fordbank Hotel, Wigtown; The Bladnoch Inn, The Thistle Inn and l’Aperitif, Stranraer; The County Hotel, Stoneykirk; The Lagganmore Hotel, Portpatrick; The Craighlaw Arms, Kirkcowan; The Kenmuir Arms, New Luce; The Cross Keys, New Galloway; The Crown Hotel, Glenluce and the Blue Peter Hotel, Kirkcolm, The Ellangowan Hotel, Creetown and The Cock Inn at Auchenmalg.

One of the hotels that is bucking the trend is the Creebridge House Hotel. Proprietor Steve Donnan told The Galloway Gazette that straightened financial circumstances could be to blame.

He said: “It’s hard times at the moment no doubt about that. It’s more expensive to eat out and go for a drink. The cost of everything else is going up as well - electricity, gas, fuel.

“Places that are not food-led are tending to struggle. The days of the old pub culture have gone. People are now looking for a night out that involves a good meal.

“It’s just a case of head down and get on with it.”