South Croydon landlord says local pubs 'being destroyed by chain'
A SOUTH Croydon landlord has accused a discount pub chain of "destroying" the traditional local boozer.
John Whelan, the new licensee of The Purley Arms, in Brighton Road, has already transformed the fortunes of another Croydon pub.
But he admits the dominance of the JD Wetherspoon chain is making it more and more difficult for the "local" to flourish.
He told the Advertiser: "It is an obvious thing to say, but pubs are in decline. It is a fact that Wetherspoon's have destroyed an awful lot of them.
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"Local pubs haven't got a chance to compete directly with a pint and a meal for £5."
JD Wetherspoon is famous for offering cheap deals on food and alcohol but Eddie Gershon, a spokesman for the chain, says it is up to pubs to find their own ways of attracting customers.
He said: "Wetherspoon has ten or so pubs in Croydon and the surrounding area. We want to be part of a thriving pub scene and believe we offer good value.
"We say that ultimately it is down to the people to decide where they wish to eat or drink. People go to our pubs or choose not to go to them for their own reasons."
Mr Whelan has already been successful in turning round The Bedford Tavern, in Sydenham Road, Croydon, and aims to bring that experience to The Purley Arms.
He hopes offering the personal touch will help him attract customers away from Wetherspoon and the other chains.
Mr Whelan, who has taken a 20-year lease on the pub, plans to build on existing attractions, such as quiz and poker nights, and also have more live music.
The landlord, of Pampisford Road, South Croydon, added: "I like a good traditional wet-led house. I was brought up on old-school rules.
"This pub has a lovely feel about it but trade has dropped off over years.
"I want to turn it into the family pub it used to be and get those people back."