LANDLORDS at two Huddersfield pubs have called time for good.
The Red Lion at Lockwood has already shut while the Kings Arms in South Crosland is set to cease trading soon.
They are the latest in a growing number of Huddersfield area pubs to shut.
A Brighouse-based champion of pubs said one of the problems was that customers were keeping their pounds firmly in their pockets.
Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers’ Associations, said landlords were also being hit by increasing costs.
Mr Payne heads an organisation that looks after the business interests of self-employed licensees.
He said: “It is sad because what’s happening in the pub industry in Huddersfield is happening all over the country.
“But it’s not just pubs; it’s affecting small businesses too.
“The problems started a bit before the smoking ban.
“The smoking ban isn’t as big a problem as people think. It is the pound in the pocket and all the cheap alcohol in the supermarkets.
“We have to take into consideration the fact that everybody is being hit by rising costs; the high fuel prices affect deliveries, which affect the businesses who have to pass it on to the customers.
“This problem isn’t exclusive to the pub industry; it is hitting everyone.
“Everything is going up and the pound is staying in customers pockets.”
Mr Payne works with landlords throughout the country offering advice on how to keep pubs open.
He added: “Every pub is different and every licensee is different. It could be we need to review the way the pub operates or offer a different food menu.
“Licensees need to be reviewing their business all the time because beer sales have gone down so much.
“It is a concern, but we are working to improve things for everyone.”
The Kings Arms boasts stunning views across moorland and was in the Which? Good Food and the Which? Good Pub guides in 2003.
But five years on it has been hit by rising rates.
One regular said: “It’s a terrible shame. It has been my local for the past 30 years and has been a really good village pub.”
The pub industry has suffered its biggest decline of all time in the past 18 months.
Many landlords blame it on the smoking ban introduced last summer. But rising bills and beer prices have also affected many landlords.
Also, England’s failure to get to the Euro 2008 football championship will mean fewer punters are likely to visit pubs this summer to watch the action.
There are 24 pubs up for lease in Huddersfield, Mirfield, Brighouse, Rastrick and Elland.
Enterprise Inns, which is one of the UK’s largest lease and tenant pub companies, is advertising pubs in Dalton, Lindley, Mirfield and Huddersfield town centre.