You are what you eat & drink

Disaster in Britain

Pubs closing at rate of 31 a week

Camra blames planning loopholes for accelerating disappearance of British institution, of which fewer than 55,000 remain

‘Pubs are increasingly being targeted by those wishing to take advantage of the absence of proper planning control.’ Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

The rate at which British pubs are closing down has accelerated to 31 a week and 3% of pubs in the suburbs have shut in the past six months, the real ale group Camra has warned.

Campaigners are calling for an urgent change in the law to make it harder for pubs to be demolished or converted to supermarkets and convenience stores.

The peak closure period was between January and June 2009 when 52 pubs ceased trading every week, and there are now 54,490 pubs left in the country.

At the start of its annual Great British Beer Festival, Camra has launched a campaign calling for a planning application to be required before a pub is demolished or converted to another use.

Pubs can currently be converted to a range of uses without planning permission. Camra says that in most cases communities have been powerless to save their locals.

Tom Stainer, head of communications at Camra, said: “Popular and profitable pubs are being left vulnerable by gaps in English planning legislation as pubs are increasingly being targeted by those wishing to take advantage of the absence of proper planning control.

“It is utterly perverse that developers are able to demolish or convert a pub into a convenience store or many other uses without any requirement to apply for planning permission. It is wrong that communities are left powerless when a popular local pub is threatened with demolition or conversion into a Tesco store.”

Source: TheGuardian Read more

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