Decline of the Great British pub?

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Traditional pubs are under threat, according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), with closures averaging 31 locals a week.

It will not come as a surprise to many that this uniquely British drinking establishment is in danger of extinction, what with the rise of chain-pubs and franchises resulting in almost identical city centres across the country.

What may come as a shock is the speed at which the pub’s demise is seen to be going: at an accelerated rate of 31 licensed premises every week. According to CAMRA, 3 per cent of pubs in the UK’s suburbs have closed in the last six months.

With only 54,490 independent public houses left standing, the law needs urgent reform to make it harder for big businesses to close down our locals, says CAMRA.

The Great British Beer Festival saw the launch of a campaign advocating the need for tighter controls and planning permission. With the support of MPs and beer-lovers alike, CAMRA are hopeful that they can turn the situation around.

Tom Stainer, head of communications at Camra, speaking to The Guardian, 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.”

So far, almost 50 MPs have signed in support of the initiative, and CAMRA are encouraging all who attend the beer festival to urge their local politicians to join the campaign.

CAMRA states that pubs provide more than 1 million jobs nationwide, and inject on average £80,000 (€100,000) into their local economies each year.

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