Chester-le-Street pub that closed in 2020 is on the market for £225k

A once-popular County Durham pub that has sat empty since 2020 is still on the market as more pubs close in the region amid rising costs in owning a hospitality business.

During a recent study, the number of pubs in England and Wales fell below 40,000 during this year, which highlights a loss of more than 7,000 in a decade.

The hospitality sector, which tackled huge challenges during the pandemic, is now facing record-high inflation and an energy crisis.

Amid all the pubs that are closing, Durham is facing its own challenges, as nine pubs currently feature on

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This includes The Smiths Arms in Castle Dene, Chester-le-Street, which dates back to the mid-19th century, and has hit the market for £225,000.

In recent times, the boozer has faced an uncertain future after its current owner, Kevin Brown, told The Northern Echo previously that plans to reopen it under community ownership are unrealistic.

Having closed its doors to regulars in October 2020, Mr Brown had been trying to generate interest to keep it open as a community pub.

But he said the current climate in the hospitality industry, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, means it is just not profitable to run.

Mr Brown applied to Durham County Council for permission to turn the building at Castle Dene into a residential property in May 2021, but it was refused by the local authority.

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Now, it still sits up for sale – with the building, which boasts a traditional detached Public House, with a spacious upper attic space, the owner’s accommodation extends to a lounge, kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom, has been available.

The pub includes public accommodation on the ground and upper floor with the owner’s flat above in the attic space, as well as a log fire, snug, kitchen and large function room.

In total, it can seat up to 65 diners.

Outside, there is a private car park plus outside seating areas to the front and side, with views across the Dene.

According to, “the property could make an excellent destination food and drink venue but will require significant investment,” but interest in the property remains to be seen.

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