Number of London pubs falls by 25% in 15 years

20th April, 2017 by Phoebe French

A project commissioned by the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in partnership with the Campaign for Real Ale, has revealed that London has lost 1,220 pubs since 2001.

The China Hall pub in Rotherhithe was sold to developers in 2013.

In 2001 there was a total of 4,835 pubs in London, however, in 2016, the figure had fallen to just 3,615. This was in direct contrast to population growth, rising from 7,172,036 in 2001 to 8,673,713 in mid-2015.

The worst affected areas were the London borough of Barking and Dagenham which lost 56% of its pubs, and Newham that lost 52%. Other boroughs with high closure rates include Croydon (45%), Waltham Forest (44%), Hounslow (42%) and Lewisham (41%). Hackney was the only borough with an overall increase, numbers rising from 155 to 160. CAMRA’s interactive map, representing all the boroughs, can be viewed here.

According to the Mayor of London’s website, over half of international visitors frequent a pub during their stay whilst employment in pubs has increased by 8.7%, with a sixth of 18-24 year olds having worked in one. Sadiq Khan pledges ‘to do everything in his power to make it harder for pubs to shut.’

Commenting on the figures, he said: “The Great British Pub is at the heart of the capital’s culture. From traditional workingmen’s clubs to cutting-edge micro-breweries, London’s locals are as diverse and eclectic as the people who frequent them.

“That’s why I’m shocked at the rate of closure highlighted by these statistics, and why we have partnered with CAMRA to ensure we can track the number of pubs open in the capital and redouble our efforts to stem the rate of closures.”

Geoff Stawbridge, Greater London CAMRA regional director added: “Pubs play a vital part in many people’s lives, providing a place to meet and socialise and feel part of a community. Yet London pubs are under enormous threats, notably from increasing business rates, high alcohol duties and property speculation. CAMRA has welcomed the opportunity to work with the Mayor in monitoring pub closures in the capital, and hopes this initiative will continue to draw attention to the plight of London pubs.”

The Mayor highlighted the plight of The China Hall in Rotherhithe – an historic pub that faces an uncertain future after the site was sold to developers – to represent the threat to London’s pubs. The new owners of the pub have offered landlords Michael and Wendy Norris a new lease for double what they currently pay.

The audit forms part of the Mayor’s Cultural Infrastructure Plan for 2030 – a move designed to investigate what is required to protect and sustain London’s cultural dynamism.

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