Wetherspoons to make permanent change next weekend in blow to customers

Wetherspoon will shut two more pubs within weeks - as nine more remain at risk of being sold. The Lord Arthur Lee in Fareham will close on April 28, while Market Cross in Holywell, North Wales, will shut its doors for the final time on May 12.

Both pubs will be sold to new landlords. The company said in a statement previously: “In the last decade, there has been a reduction in the number of trading Wetherspoon pubs, which peaked at 955 in December 2015. In spite of a reduction in the overall number of pubs, sales have continued to increase – total sales are now about one third higher than in 2015.”

Pub giant owner Sir Tim Martin told Sky News' Business Live with Ian King : "I think it's quite quick going from 500 to 800 [pubs], but it's slower filling in the final gaps. So I don't want to put too much of a timescale on it, but probably not much more than a dozen a year."

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Wetherspoon pubs up for sale include The Ivor Davies, Cardiff and Foot of the Walk, Edinburgh as well as London & Rye, London, Fleetwood, London and The Quay, Poole. Wetherspoon pubs under offer include the Wrong ‘Un, Bexleyheath, Jolly Sailor, Bristol, The Mockbeggar Hall, Moreton and The Alfred Herring, Palmers Green.

Others include The Cross Keys, Pebbles, Spa Lane Vaults, Chesterfield, The Regent, Kirkby in Ashfield, The Sir Daniel Arms, Swindon and The Hain Line, St Ives as well as Market Cross, Holywell. Despite closures, Wetherspoons fans should be reassured that the beloved chain is expected to claim some 1,000 new venues.

One fan wrote on social media: "Given that Weatherspoon's has 827 pubs, at a time when other pubs have been closing left, right and centre. it is hardly surprising that they are rationalising their portfolio. The real villain is competition from supermarkets and the increase in tax on alcohol. The worst hit are country pubs, where drinkers can seldom take a bus home and there are no tubes or ubers."