CAMRA urges action to save UK pubs

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has repeated calls for the UK government to help save the UK pub industry, after figures released today revealed 29 pubs are closing every week.

A bar at the 2012 Camra Great British Beer FestivalWhile this represents a slight drop from the 31 per week recorded as of August last year, it is still twice the number that were closing in 2011, when the figure stood at just 16.

The figures coincide with the tabling of a new clause to the Infrastructure Bill by CAMRA’s Save the Pub Group with the support of cross-party MPs. If successful, the change would make planning permission mandatory before demolishing or converting a pub into a supermarket convenience store or other retail use.

Currently developers are able to convert pubs to other uses without planning permission, a legal loophole which CAMRA says has contributed to the loss of thousands of UK pubs.

Tim Page, CAMRA chief executive said: “It is currently possible to convert a pub into a betting shop, pay-day loan store or supermarket without the need for planning permission, making it far too easy for pubs valued by the community to be lost without local people having a say. Given the huge contribution that pubs make to community life in Britain we believe this cannot be right.”

The attempt to amend the Infrastructure Bill is part of CAMRA’s Pubs Matter campaign – a change that would give pubs the same protection that exists for sites such as theatres, scrap yards and nightclubs, and give communities the chance to have a say when their local pub is under threat.

Page added: “The clause tabled by Charlotte Leslie MP is a fantastic opportunity to get the Government to take swift action to close these planning loopholes. We urge every MP who supports local communities and local pubs to get behind this clause and help secure a better future for the great British pub industry. We hope that we can rally support from sufficient MPs to persuade Ministers to reconsider their current refusal to provide effective planning protection for viable and valued pubs.”

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