Local landlords declare they will still welcome man’s best friend as pub chain Wetherspoons brings in its ban on dogs. David Nowell finds out more.
Dog lovers are baffled by the decision by pub chain Wetherspoons to ban their pets from its outlets.
READ MORE>>> The dog-friendly pubs in Lancashire - your guide to where you can take your canine friend
But the pub company’s loss is a gain for many of Lancashire’s hostelries who welcome canine visitors.
J D Wetherspoon has announced it will no longer allow dogs into its pubs from Monday.
It explained it had always technically had a ban in place – excluding guide dogs - but was now enforcing it more rigidly.
Weatherspoons spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Wetherspoon has a policy of not allowing dogs in its pubs, including all outside areas, assistance dogs excepted.
“This policy was introduced shortly after the company was founded in 1979, although in recent years we have allowed a few exceptions.
“After much consultation, we will now be strictly enforcing this policy everywhere.
“In order to give those affected time to adjust we have set a deadline of Monday, September 10.”
Mr Gershon said Wetherspoons served a lot of food, which was one factor in the decision.
And the pub chain was also concerned about the effect dogs had on children.
He added: “Even well behaved dogs can be unpredictable.
“We welcome a lot of children and families – younger children in particular can be unpredictable around dogs and many are scared of dogs.”
Wetherspoons, founded in 1979 by Tim Martin, has around 900 outlets around the country.
Pubs in the central Lancashire area include the Grey Friar and the Twelve Tellers in Preston, the Leyland Lion, and the Sir Henry Tate in Chorley.
No stranger to publicity
Pub chain Wetherspoons is no stranger to publicity and is not afraid to take a stance.
Recently it announced it was selling more drinks from the UK and non-EU brewers in the run up to Brexit.
It said champagne and wheat beers produced in France and Germany would be replaced.
Sparkling wines from the UK and Australia will be substituted for champagne, while more UK wheat beers will be sold.
Its Brexit-supporting boss Tim Martin is behind the policy, which also has led to Brexit beermats being scattered all over Wetherspooons outlets. This month he is also calling on pub and restaurant operators to show their support for a UK-wide Tax Equality Day on Thursday September 13.
And he has the backing of leading industry organisations, UK Hospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) who are calling on their members to join in too.
Each of Wetherspoon’s pubs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be cutting the price of all food and drink by 7.5 per cent on the day.
Tax Equality day is aimed at highlighting the benefit of a VAT reduction in the hospitality industry.
At present all food in pubs is subject to 20 per cent VAT, compared to supermarkets which benefit from a zero VAT rate on the vast majority of food products.
‘Moving with the times’
Pubs have to remain inclusive if they are to remain competitive, say industry experts.
And that means changing with the times as tastes change- including welcoming dog owners.
Preston has recently seen the loss of several iconic boozers, including the Sumners and the Pear Tree at Bamber Bridge.
And campaigners have revealed a shocking 25 pubs a week are closing down in the UK.
The latest data from the ONS shows that between 2016 and 2017, 655 pubs and bars across the UK called time for the last time.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, said that pubs play a vital role in communities.