James May wants under-par pubs culled

James May wants bad pubs culled credit:Bang Showbiz
James May wants bad pubs culled credit:Bang Showbiz

James May wants bad pubs culled.

The former ‘Top Gear’ host, 61, who presented the show with Jeremy Clarkson, 64, and Richard Hammond 54, from 2003 to 2015, has a half-shared in The Royal Oak bar in Swallowcliffe, Wiltshire, and thinks Britain is “oversubscribed” with boozers.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “We shouldn’t think of pubs being an essential part of our heritage or an important tradition, because they’re not monuments, they’re pubs and they have to work.”

James chatted about the state of the UK’s watering holes as thousands have been closing since Covid amid downturns in business and the cost of living crisis.

He also used his interview to rail against government attempts to prop up the trade and said only “really good pubs” will survive.

It comes after he said he tried brewing low-strength beer at his pub so drinkers could “have a few and still drive home”.

Despite loving his 18th Century pub – which James bought half of in 2020 – the ‘Oh Cook!’ presenter has admitted becoming a landlord was not “a good business proposition” due to crippling overheads.

He added to the Morning Advertiser: “It’s not insulated, the paint flakes off the wall, it’s partly thatched, sinkholes appear in the car park and it’s a high maintenance building so reserve of cash is pretty tiny really given the size of the turnover.

“It’s not a good business proposition and nobody should buy a pub thinking they’re going to make a fortune out of it because you absolutely won’t.”

He added the answer could lie in turning these establishments into “charitable institutions” the local population frequently flocked to.

James said: “Pubs could be turned into charitable institutions – that might be the answer.

“People like to say the pub is an important hub of the community and it’s a meeting place, which is all true, but it’s only true if people are using it.

“If people aren’t using it, it’s not an important hub and then it should be a surprise when it disappears.

“It’s pretty simple – use the pub if you like it and it will survive, if you don’t use it, it will go.”