IN CHESHIRE West and Chester, 30 pubs and bars have closed their doors for good since 2010, according to official figures.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that in 2010 there were 290 pubs and bars but, by 2017, that number had fallen to 260.

Pubs have been pointing the finger of blame at the taxman for their troubles, complaining about the duty on beer, VAT levels and the cost of business rates.

Ernie Welch, landlord of The Old Star in Winsford, said: “We are fortunate enough not be held by a stranglehold and are completely in control to be able to source our drink from high-quality suppliers at the right price.

“I know that other pubs are forced to stick with certain suppliers and will need to do a lot more than just offer a good drink to attract a good range of customers.”

A change in consumer habits, with people drinking at home more often, has been also been blamed for fewer people visiting pubs.

Ernie adds: “Pubs are a great place to meet and we offer so much at the Star than just a place to drink. We look after the people of Winsford and are more than just a business, we are a community asset.

“The pub offers food in the day and we look to invite various live bands to come in and play. It’s making sure that we have something on for everyone.

“We host lots of community clubs during the day too, like the Probus club, who all come along and meet up for a drink and something to eat.”

CAMRA, the campaign for real ale, said that pubs play a vital role in communities.

Tom Stainer, the chief communications officer, said: "In many areas and villages, they provide the last remaining public meeting space, with meeting halls and post offices already lost.

"They also create jobs and bring money into local areas, which tend to then be spent in the local area, as compared to large chains. Many pubs help to support the night time economy in town centres and look to create safer communities after nightfall."

Can you remember any pubs in Winsford that have closed down? Let us know in the comments.