The Willow Grove pub on Lord Street in Southport. Photo by Neville Grundy of Southport CAMRA

The Willow Grove pub on Lord Street in Southport will close its doors for the last time this weekend. 

Owners Wetherspoon has confirmed that staff will pull their last pints for customers this Sunday (5th March 2023). 

The firm says that no jobs will be lost as a result of the closure. 

The other Southport Wetherspoon pub, the Sir Henry Segrave further along Lord Street, will remain open. 

The company said they don’t have any news on proposals for a new 28-bed Wetherspoon Hotel in the Pavilion Buildings on Lord Street. 

This has been a tough few months for pubs in Southport, which has seen the closures of The Phoenix, The George and The Victoria. 

New openings however have included The Cheshire Lines Inn, The Marsh Harrier and The Southport Coaster, while The Ship & Anchor is now due to reopen under new owners. 

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said:

 “We know that customers and staff will be disappointed with the decision, however, Wetherspoon does on occasion close some of its pubs, and this is the case here.

“All staff will remain with Wetherspoon once the pub closes and be employed at the company’s other pubs in the region.”

The Willow Grove originally opened under the firm’s Lloyds No 1 brand but was converted into a Wetherspoon. 

Willow Grove is spread across two floors in a large space on the corner of Lord Street and Nevill Street in a site which has undergone frequent maintenance work over the past year. 

It currently opens from breakfast until late night and was not included in a November announcement of 32 planned Wetherspoon closures. 

Southport and West Lancs CAMRA spokesperson Neville Grundy said: 

“I am surprised at this announcement as it has always seemed popular to me, and it is situated in a very central location in the town centre.

It first opened as a Lloyds No 1 bar, run to appeal to the younger market with loud music and a club-like atmosphere, but after a few years it was changed into a standard Wetherspoons pub. “At some time in the past, the building was a branch of Boots the Chemist.

I understand that some of the staff will be relocated in the Sir Henry Segrave, Southport’s other Wetherspoon’s at the southern end of Lord Street. I have also learned that Wetherspoon’s has closed the Wild Rose in Bootle and intends to close the Queen’s Picture House in Waterloo, thus effecting a large reduction in the company’s presence in the Sefton area.

“CAMRA Southport & West Lancs Branch sends its best wishes to all affected staff and hopes that all are able to find alternative employment. As far as we know, there are no plans at present to close the Sir Henry Segrave, the Court Leet in Ormskirk or the Lifeboat in Formby.”

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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