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Pub closures fall as the public is urged to continue support
The future is looking brighter for Britain's pubs as figures published by the Campaign for Real Ale show that pub closure rates are slowing - with the net number of pubs closing per week falling from 27 to 21 in the last six months. In response, CAMRA has urged the public to continue supporting local pubs to make sure pub closures continue to fall.
Pub closures have now fallen for the second six month period in a row, demonstrating that the campaigning work carried out by CAMRA members is beginning to take effect. A high profile campaign to seek additional planning protection for locals launched by CAMRA last year, combined with a freeze in beer duty, business rate reductions (England and Wales) and strong local campaigns to support local pubs, have contributed to the fall. The organisation also argues that the new Pubs Code and Adjudicator in England and Wales will help resolve industry disputes and ensure fair deals for publicans, which should see closure rates fall further.
CAMRA is now calling on people all over the UK to help the effort to continue to drive pub closure figures down further by supporting their local pubs.
CAMRA chairman Colin Valentine said: "Our members have been working hard to protect valued pubs from being demolished or converted to another use - which often happens without any consideration to the local community. Over 1,500 pubs have now been listed as Assets of Community Value (ACV) by local campaign groups in England, which gives pubs greater protection under planning law.
"However this is just the first step in saving British pubs and it's vital that people build on this positive news by supporting their locals as much as possible. It can be as simple as visiting pubs more regularly, using CAMRA's WhatPub.com to find pubs near them and telling friends and family about the great pubs you have found. If you've got a valued pub near you, consider linking up with your local community to ensure it benefits from any planning protection available.
"Please lend your support to local campaigns to save pubs which are already under threat and, of course, sign up to CAMRA to join the 180,000 members committed to reducing the numbers of pubs closing across the country."
CAMRA's figures show that rural and suburban communities are still bearing the brunt of pub closures. Rural areas saw a net loss of 231 pubs in the last six months, with suburban areas losing a net total of 317 pubs. High streets have seen a net loss of one pub per week since December. Positively, however, the number of branded food pubs and modern style pubs and bars have seen an increase over the last six months.
CAMRA is consequently calling on the Government to continue to level the playing field between communities and developers by ensuring planning permission is always needed before a pub can be demolished or converted to another use.
Notes to editors
1. The CAMRA Pub Tracker Number figures are compiled by CGA Strategy on behalf of CAMRA and cover the period December 2015 to June 2016. Pub closure figures are net closures, taking new openings during the period into account.
2. Total pubs in December 2015 was 52,750. Total pubs in June 2016 was 52,201. Gross closures over the period was 1,270 with gross openings of 721. Net closure total was 549.