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English pubs on the endangered list

The iconic image of pubs as a part of England that will always endure is in trouble.

The number of pub closings last year hit a rate 14 times higher than the prior year, according to a new report just released by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

The BBPA says 1,409 pubs closed in 2007, a rate of 27 per week.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has published its own survey showing a slightly slower pace -- 57 a month -- but notes that 31% of those closed are being demolished, 36% are converted to shops, cafes and restaurants and 33% are converted to some other use, mostly residential.

It is this changeover that is concerning people who want to preserve the country's pub structure. CAMRA is pushing for changes to planning laws to prevent pub demolitions and change of use without planning permission.

So, what is causing the phenomenon?

BBPA Chief Executive Rob Hayward said he blames rising costs, falling sales and the impact of the smoking ban.

“These figures show the reality of the pub trade today," he said, "in contrast to the hype surrounding the myth of '24 hour drinking'."

BBPA statistics say beer sales in pubs are at their lowest level since the Depression in the 1930s. Today's pubs are selling 14 million fewer pints a day than they did when sales were at their peak in 1979.

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1 comment:

Elaine Saunders www.completetext.com said...

And don't forget the loss of the traditional names which, collectively, chart the history of Britain as far back as Roman times. They commemorate just about every major event and monarch over 2000 years and it would be too sad if they disappeared completely.

Elaine Saunders
Author: A Book About Pub Names