£1.6m investment plan for pub chain’s Yorkshire hostelries

Heineken UK is investing £1.6m upgrading and reopening Star Pubs in Yorkshire and Humber this as part of a £39m national investment plan to improve 612 pubs – a quarter of Heineken’s 2,400 UK hostelries.

The move is expected to create 37 jobs in the region, and 1,075 nationally. The plan focuses on transforming tired suburban pubs in into premium pubs, broadening their appeal.

The Ship in Worsborough, Barnsley, reopened in February following a £370,000 refurbishment which created 11 jobs. The community local focuses on entertainment and sport, and servves drinks only.

New licensee Rebecca Skelly, said, “The Ship needed a complete facelift to get customers back – a lick of paint wouldn’t have cut it. The smart new design has been key to converting residents into regulars.

“The Ship is proof of the need and demand for traditional locals. It’s part of the town’s history. Everyone comes here, from families with children to retirees – it’s a social hub, especially for the neighbourhood’s senior citizens, many of whom sat at home alone before The Ship opened again.”

Jeineken said subtle zoning will signpost pubgoers to the areas likely to suit them best, enabling different groups of customers to simultaneously enjoy a variety of activities without disturbing each other. Dividing screens and distinct changes to lighting, sound systems and furniture styles will help delineate the zones.

Other common changes will include overhauling cellars with state-of-the-art equipment and repositioning tills to speed up service. Substantial projects will feature energy efficiency measures, such as heating controls, insulation and low- energy lighting, that will typically cost £12,500 per pub and cut energy use by 15%.

Star Pubs managing director Lawson Mountstevens said, “Pubs have proved their enduring appeal; after all the disruption of recent years, Star is on track to have the lowest number of long-term closed pubs since 2019. It’s a tribute to the drive and entrepreneurship of licensees and the importance of continued investment. We’ve spent more than £200m maintaining and upgrading our pubs over the last five years, and we’ll continue to invest to keep them open and thriving.

“Well-invested pubs run by great licensees are here to stay, but like all locals, need Government support to reduce the enormous tax burden they shoulder.”