UK pub closure rates rise to 31 a week

CAMRA calls on government to close planning “loopholes” and “recognise that pubs matter”

UK pubs are closing at an increasing rate of 31 per week, according to new figures released by the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Pub Tracker.

Published as part of the organisation’s new ‘Pubs Matter’ ‘campaign, the findings show a steady rise in weekly pub closures, growing from 28 per week in December 2013, and 26 per week in March of the same year.

According to CAMRA, suburban areas are the “worst hit” with 3% of the country’s suburban pubs closed over the last months.

The research suggests that pubs are being demolished or converted to be made into supermarkets, estate agents and a range of other facilities; between January 2012 to January 2014 at least two pubs each week were converted into supermarkets.

Following the research, CAMRA is calling on government to close “planning loopholes” which it claims currently allows pubs to be demolished or converted without planning permission. Instead, it wants the law in England to change so that a planning application is always required before a public house is demolished or converted into another use.

It is also encouraging festival-goers at the Great British Beer Festival to lobby their MP’s to make the change to pub planning permissions after 44 MPs have already having signed a Parliamentary Early Day Motion in support of closing the planning “loopholes”.

CAMRA head of communications, Tom Stainer, 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.”

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