DRINKERS in Stafford have lost more than one pub a year on average over the last 15 years according to a new book.
Stafford author John Connor has released the second of two books about pubs within the town's walls.
The Inns and Alehouses of Stafford through the North Gate features the history of dozens of pubs, some of which have closed their doors forever.
Among them are The Lynton Tavern, which served its last pint in 2009 and was bought by Stafford Gospel Hall Trust, also known as the Plymouth Brethren.
The following year they were given planning permission to hold services there but the building has remained empty with fencing around it.
Ward councillor Ann Edgeller said: "It's horrible. It's been like this for four years. I don't want other communities to have to put up with this. It takes the heart out of a community when a pub closes."
Doxey has lost two pubs since 1999 and now has none.
The Doxey Arms, closed in 2008 and houses were built on the site although the sign still hangs outside. The Castle Tavern closed in 2010 and is now an Indian restaurant.
The Eagle, in Newport Road, was incorporated into the offices of Eagle House housing scheme in 2010.
Mike Harker, of Camra's Heart of Staffordshire branch, said: "One of the problems we are finding with pubs is that planning law makes it easy to turn them into supermarkets
"If it becomes a supermarket that sells alcohol they don't need to apply for change of use.
"It's a loophole in the law and we are putting pressure on government to change that."
Other pubs to call time since 1999 include The Antelope Inn, in Stone Road (2011); the Crispins Tavern, Stone Road (2007); The Rifleman, Common Road (2008); the Shepherd's Bush, Marston Road (2009); The New Victoria, Browning Street (2007); The Stafford Arms, Railway Street (2008).
Mr Connor's books reveal some 19 pubs have closed within the town's walls since 1999 with a handful of new ones opening.
They include the King's Horse, in Newport Road, which opened this year, The Post House, in Greengate Street (2011); and The Yard, in Espley's Yard (2007).
Mr Connor will hold a book signing for The Inns and Alehouses of Stafford through the North Gate at The Ancient High House, in Greengate Street, on Saturday, May 10, from 10am to 4pm.
Turn to page 29, Times Gone By for details of long ago closures.