The CGA - CAMRA Pub Tracker figures reveal the weekly closure rate has risen from 28 in December to 31 at the latest count. London and the South East was the worst hit area, with eight pubs a week shutting their doors. The figures also reveal that 3% of the nation’s surburban pubs have closed over the last six months.
North and Mid Wales was revealed as the least affected area – with an average of 0.2 pubs a week closing – although this is still down on December’s figure. After the South East, the Midlands was the hardest hit – with seven pubs being lost every week.
On the back of figures CAMRA has launched its Pubs Matter campaign, which calls on the Government to ensure a planning application is always required before a pub is demolished or converted to another use.
Tom Stainer, CAMRA head of communications, 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.
"A pub is an entirely different proposition to a convenience store, estate agent or funeral directors and the planning system needs updating to reflect this fact. It is wrong that communities are left powerless when a popular local pub is threatened with demolition or conversion into a Tesco store."
CAMRA is encouraging visitors its Great British Beer Festival, which starts today, to lobby their MP using specially designed postcards, which can then be posted into boxes around the venue to be sent to the relevant MPs by CAMRA.
Stephen Langdon is part of a group of locals trying to save the Maiden Over pub in Reading, which has been threatened with conversion to a Tesco supermarket. He said: “We found out just a couple of weeks ago that our valued local pub is shutting. My first thought on learning that Tesco were involved was that they would struggle to get planning permission for change of use - I was stunned when I learned that there was no requirement for this at all.
“The reality is that our local pub, a genuine community venue and the only public meeting place within a large residential area, is very likely to disappear, and the local community has had scarcely any opportunity to voice an opinion on the matter.”
For more information about the Pubs Matter campaign go to www.pubsmatter.org.uk
% point change
London & South East
Lowland & Eastern Scotland
North & Mid-Wales
North & NE England