Closed! 'Unviable' Staffordshire pub battered by soaring costs and competition

The Eagle Inn in Eccleshall
The Eagle Inn in Eccleshall -Credit:Google Street View

A pub branded 'unviable' by its owner due to soaring costs and competition could be turned into a house. The Eagle Inn, in Eccleshall, had grand plans to become established as a sports bar and underwent a £150,000 refurbishment.

But the coronavirus pandemic struck, energy prices and wage demands have risen, and the venue has now been shut since December.

Now a planning application to turn the Horsefair property into a home has been submitted to Stafford Borough Council. The plan includes an extension and the demolition of the existing toilet block.

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Six neighbours have supported the plan after labelling the pub a 'nuisance'.

The planning application states: "Eccleshall is blessed with so many hospitality businesses and the original intention of the owner was to operate The Eagle as a sports bar. Shortly after purchasing the pub, the Covid virus struck and we entered a series of lockdowns that devastated the hospitality sector. Undeterred, the owner took the opportunity to undertake a full refurbishment, spending in the region of £150,000 to create something completely unique.

"As a result of various lockdowns, the business could not reopen to the public until June 2021. As with all new businesses, the first few weeks were very successful and the owner was optimistic. However, despite the owner’s experience and success in the hospitality sector, several trends started to conspire to quickly make the business unviable.

"The Eagle struggles to attract people from the High Street. Whilst only a short walk, the vibrancy of the High Street causes people to want to stay on a ‘circuit’ that excludes The Eagle. Expensive signage, lighting, themed nights, entertainment, and offers weren’t enough to attract customers.

"Lockdowns had resulted in hospitality staff permanently exiting the industry and it was incredibly difficult to find staff to work in a late-night bar. In order to attract people, wage rates had to be increased to unsustainable levels. By the winter of 2021, energy prices started to shoot up - gas and electricity prices soared by nearly 400 per cent. The Eagle had to take on utility contracts at eye-watering levels and levels that could not be afforded without a substantial uptick in trade.

"The owner cannot reopen the venue as a public house, it is simply not viable. Similarly, the owner cannot afford to rent the business to another operator."

Council planners are expected to rule on the planning application within weeks.

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