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Sunday, 17 July 2016

Pub closures - slower but not stopped

The old Becconsall in Hesketh Bank, north
of Southport - now a housing development
A recent press release by CAMRA about how the rate of pub closures is slowing formed the basis of this article I've just written for the local paper. While I've tried to write it in a slightly upbeat manner, any suggestion that CAMRA is being Pollyannaish is contradicted by the first sentence of Colin Valentine's comment.

The future is looking slightly brighter for Britain’s pubs. Figures published by CAMRA show that closure rates are slowing, with the net number of pubs lost per week in the last six months falling from 27 to 21. In response, CAMRA is urging the public to continue supporting local pubs to help reduce the closure rate even more.

CAMRA can take much of the credit for this reduction with campaigns successfully resulting in a freeze in beer duty, business rate reductions (England and Wales) and strong local campaigns to support local pubs. The new Pubs Code with its own adjudicator in England and Wales will help prevent closures by resolving industry disputes and ensuring fair deals for licensees. More than 1,500 pubs have now been listed as Assets of Community Value (ACV) by local campaign groups in England; ACVs give pubs greater protection under planning law. CAMRA continues to demand that planning permission should be required before a pub can be demolished or converted to another use.

CAMRA is now calling on people all over the country to help save valued local pubs from closing by supporting them, especially in rural and suburban areas where the closure rate is much higher. You can support pubs just by going out for a few drinks - and having a good night out into the bargain. Who said campaigning can't be fun?

CAMRA national chairman Colin Valentine said: "The rate of pub closures is still alarmingly and unacceptably high. Most of these lost pubs will have been precious to the people who use them regularly. It's vital that people support their locals as much as possible. It can be as simple as visiting pubs more regularly."

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