Pub closure rates are slowing, according to figures published by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), with the net number of pubs closing per week falling from 27 to 21 in the last six months.
Figures show that rural and suburban areas 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 since December, while the number of branded food pubs and ‘modern style' pubs and bars has increased over the last six months.
CAMRA has suggested its campaign for additional planning protection for local pubs launched last year, combined with a freeze in beer duty, business rate reductions in England and Wales, and strong local campaigns to support pubs, have contributed to the fall. It also said the new Pubs Code and Adjudicator in England and Wales should help resolve industry disputes and ensure fair deals for publicans, and see closure rates fall further.
It continues to call on the government to ensure planning permission is always needed before a pub can be demolished or converted to another use.
Colin Valentine, CAMRA chairman, said: "More than 1,500 pubs have now been listed as Assets of Community Value 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. The rate of pub closures is still alarmingly and unacceptably high. Most of these lost pubs will have been precious to the people who use them regularly."