IS the pub trade a dying business?

In just two months, two well-known pubs have closed their doors to the public on Canvey, raising questions over the future of the pub trade on the island.

The historic King Canute pub, in Canvey Road, which was used as a base for the Armed Forces during the 1953 floods, served its final customers on Sunday, May 19.

This was followed by news of the impending closure of the Silver Jubilee pub last week.

The family-run pub is set to close on Saturday, July 19.

The closure of the two pubs has raised concerns across the island on whether there is even a future for the business as a whole.

Joanne Cramp, landlady of the Silver Jubilee , believes it is a dying trade as a result of high taxes and a lack of help from the Government.

She said: “It’s a sign of the times. The Government is taxing pubs to the point it is becoming difficult for them to survive.

“The ones that tend to do well are ones that have a restaurant because that brings the money in.”

Mrs Cramp’s pub has been closed after brewery Punch Tavern decided it is “unsustainable”.

However, leader of the Canvey Island Independent Party, Dave Blackwell, believes the only way pubs could survive is if they offered more.He said: “People complain when pubs close, but when they’re open, no one really spends time in them anymore.

“We might see more people going into pubs during the weekend, but not as many as used to go.

“The pubs that do better tend to serve food.”

Warren Garner, 47, owner of the Haystack in Furtherwick Road, Canvey, said pubs face challenges, but location also plays an important part.

Mr Garner, who took over in December, said: “The key is location. We are in a busy central area, so it is easier to bring in customers.

“We provide food, encourage a family environment, and also provide entertainment for all generations.”

Mr Garner said he believes the biggest challenge facing pubs today is competition from supermarkets.

He said: “People tend to buy alcohol from supermarkets where they can get it a lot cheaper and then come to pubs for the last few hours before closing.”

The King Canute will now be turned into a convenience store although brewery Stonegate has not revealed the buyer.

The Silver Jubilee Pub has not yet been sold.