At CAMRA’s London Pub Protection Seminar on Saturday members agreed to focus their lobbying efforts on communities secretary Eric Pickles and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
James Watson, Pubs Protection Officer for CAMRA’s East London & City branch, said: “The pubs minister does not believe we have a problem, yet 28 pubs every week close.
“We have been campaigning hard to see planning loopholes closed to give our pubs a fighting chance against rapacious developers, which include betting shops, supermarkets and builders of flats. We are bitterly disappointed that this government, which claims to be pro-pub, has failed to act on these loopholes.
“Initiatives brought in by Eric Pickles are being exploited and abused by those who would destroy our pubs. The Government could very easily put a stop to this yet Brandon Lewis has refused to act.”
The conference, held at the Fuller’s Melton Mowbray pub in High Holborn, also hosted discussions on Assets of Community Value and Article 4 Directions.
Geoff Strawbridge, CAMRA's London Regional Director, said the packed venue showed how important the issue of pub protection is to people.
He said: "We are pleased that our Mayor is looking at pubs in his planning policies - but we would like him to take a lead, not just for London but also for the rest of the country. Issuing his London Plan, and lobbying the Prime Minister, to ensure that there can be no change of any use to a pub without planning permission would make such a difference. The current government do not want to introduce new planning laws but we must make pubs an exception. We know that Boris is not afraid to take a lead and in something as important as pubs, we need his championship to save London pubs."
Geoff then added 'Let's not forget that pubs are an important employer of the under 30's and that over 64% of overseas visitors wish to visit an English pub, it's essential that we do everything we can to keep London's pubs. We have lost around 1000 pubs in London is the last couple of decades so we are not crying wolf as to this dire situation".
No one from Lewis' office was available to comment.