London pubs closing at a ‘shocking’ rate

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has called on the Mayor of London to give greater protection to pubs in London, revealing that 90 currently close every year.

A bar at the 2012 Camra Great British Beer FestivalA report by CAMRA highlighting the “shocking” rate of pub closures in London was submitted to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, this week, in which it urges the Mayor to give pubs greater protection through the planning system.

Nationwide, UK pubs are closing at a rate of 26 per week with more than half reporting earning less than £10,000 in 2013.

Legal loopholes still exist which allow pubs to change into supermarkets, betting shops or cafes without the need for planning consent, which CAMRA said contributed to the closure of 28 pubs in London alone between April and September 2013.

The report submitted forms part of a public consultation on alterations to the London Plan (FALP), which closed on 10 April, with CAMRA campaigning to close such loopholes and protect pubs from conversion.

Geoff Strawbridge, CAMRA’a regional director said: “While we welcome the added recognition of pubs within the draft further alterations to the London Plan, London property prices make pubs especially vulnerable to speculative purchase for alternative site uses.

“Given the vital and unique role that pubs play within our communities, the demolition or change of use of any pub should now be subject to planning controls”.

Proposed changes include the removal of permitted development rights on all London pubs, which allows pubs to be converted without planning consent and denies residents a voice in the process.

CAMRA also want London residents to be able to refuse a proposed change of use on a pub if it is listed as an Asset of Community Value.

As part of its campaign, CAMRA will be hosting a free pub protection seminar, aimed at local planning authorities, councillors, community groups and residents interested in saving and preserving the capital’s iconic pubs, on Saturday, 31 May, at the Melton Mowbray on Holborn.

Confirmed speakers include Tom Copley AM, Labour Assembly Member and Housing Spokesman, and Bill Linskey, Chair of the Brixton Society.

For more information click here.

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