One of the UK’s biggest pub owners has unveiled plans to re-open 62 outlets as part of a £39 million investment plan.

Star Pubs declared a quarter (612) of its pubs are in line for improvement in a move it declared has “demonstrated its confidence in the resilience of the great British local in the face of global uncertainty”.

The investment, which the company said will create 1,075 new jobs, appears to run counter to a general decline in pub numbers across the UK, as increasing numbers of operators are closing down amid a sustained cost crisis. The company said that, over the course of 2023 and 2024, 156 of its long-term closed pubs will re-open.

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Star Pubs, which is owned by Heineken UK and is a leased and tenanted pub operation, said people are still eager to go out despite the continuing cost of living crisis, and is focusing investment on tied pubs in suburban areas, as people continue to work from home and look to save money on travel.

The company is hoping to invest in The County Hotel in North Berwick, The Cedar Inn in Aberdour, and The Kilderkin in Edinburgh this year, subject to recruiting new operators, a spokeswoman for Star said.

Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs, said: “People are looking for maximum value from visits to their local. They want great surroundings and food and drink as well as activities that give them an extra reason to go out, such as sports screenings and entertainment. Creating fantastic locals that can accommodate a range of occasions meets this need and helps pubs fulfil their role as vital third spaces where communities can come together.

“Pubs have proved their enduring appeal; after all the disruption of recent years, Star is on track to have the lowest number of closed pubs since 2019. It’s a tribute to the drive and entrepreneurship of licensees and the importance of continued investment.

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“We’ve spent more than £200m upgrading and maintaining our pubs over the last five years, and we’ll continue to invest to keep them open and thriving. Time and again we see the value consumers place on having a good local and how important it is to communities. Well-invested pubs run by great licensees are here to stay, but like all locals, they need Government support to reduce the enormous tax burden they shoulder.”

The company noted that the revamps are designed to broaden each pub’s use and appeal, giving people additional reasons to visit. It will use subtle zoning techniques to ensure groups of people can visit for different reasons, from dining to watching live sport, without disturbing each other.