A TOWN centre pub has suddenly closed its doors, with the landlords announcing their move to a new site in Leigh.

The Town House, on Queens Road, Southend has not re-opened since the Covid-19 pandemic and will not be opening anytime soon after the landlord’s lease expired.

The management team have now moved to The Inn at Belfairs, on Eastwood Road North in Leigh - with signs on The Town House boasting about The Inn’s large beer garden and “beautiful restaurant”.

But Town House owners, Star Pubs & Bars, have insisted they are working to get the venue back open again as soon as possible, and that a new operator is set to take the reigns from the start of September to help them run the pub until a permanent licensee is found.

A spokesperson from the team, said: “Unfortunately, we will not be re-opening due to our lease expiring. We would like to thank all of our customers from over the last five years for your continued support and many laughs.

“We hope to see you all at our new site, The Inn at Belfairs, in Leigh.”

A spokesperson from Star Pubs & Bars, said: “The Townhouse is a popular pub in the centre of Southend and we are working to reopen it as soon as possible.

“We have an excellent operator lined up to run the pub on a temporary basis from the start of September until such time as we have recruited a new permanent licensee. We have no firm plans for a refurbishment at the current time.”

But fellow bosses have questioned what the future will hold for the hospitality industry, should their be a second UK lockdown.

James Vessey-Miller, general manager at The Railway Hotel, in Southend, said: “I still remember when Greg Weller first took over the Town House-it was more of a student bar, and he’s put quite a lot of effort and money into it over the years.

“But times are hard for the pub industry at the moment, not just in Southend but across the country. I think many of us, including myself, are questioning what will happen if we do go into a second lockdown and the pubs were to close again.

“There are already talks of a trade between pubs when the schools re-open. Of course children’s education has to come first, but it would be devastating if we had to shut again.”

Garry Lowen, co-owner of the Gleneagles Guest House, a Westcliff tearoom and hotel, added: “Closing pubs and other venues in the hospitality industry in a second lockdown I think would be the death’s nail.

“Everyone is just starting to get going, so unless there was some sort of government grant or the banks stepped in to support businesses things would be very difficult.”