London pubs close at net rate of two a week according to CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) who raised concerns at a summit on protecting London’s pubs recently.
The summit at City Hall, which was hosted by the consumer group and Assembley Member Tom Copley, brought together London Councillors, MPs, Assembly Members and pub campaigners who called on councils to help secure the future of one of the capital’s biggest attractions – the Great British Pub.
Pub-going remains among the most popular leisure pursuit in London with around two million visiting the pub on a regular basis but despite this pubs are still closing at an alarming rate.
CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: “With property values being so high in London, and supermarkets and betting shop chains exploiting planning loopholes to expand their London presence, even profitable pubs face a serious threat to their future from developers.
“The good news is local councils do have powers to be the last line of defence in protecting pubs. This summit will enable CAMRA to urge councils to use these powers by supporting communities to list pubs as Assets of Community Value, remove development rights to help prevent valued pubs being converted into supermarkets, betting shops and other uses and to ensure Local Plans contain pro-pub policies.”
The new closure figures come at a time when a recent CAMRA survey shows over two thirds of London’s pub goers believe a well-run community pub is as important to community life as a post office, local shop or community centre.
London Assembly Member Tom Copley said: “We need to protect London’s pubs, there are an ever decreasing number and too many are being sold off for flats or other uses. Good, well-run pubs, are the heart and soul of so many town centres and communities across London.
“I’m delighted to be hosting this event with CAMRA who do vital work supporting real ale pubs and breweries across the country. We are bringing together pub campaigners from across our city to come up with a plan to save the London pub.
“We are also showcasing some of the finest ales brewed in London, local breweries not only deliver a range of fantastic drinks but also support jobs across our city and keep alive the skills for the future.”