According to the new Greater London Assembly report, the reasons for the decline of London's pubs are many:
Above inflation alcohol tax
Supermarket alcohol offers
The smoking ban
Increase in online shopping
Struggling pub chains
Planning laws that make the conversion or demolition of pubs the easiest option
So what can be done to try and combat these pressures according to the report?
Introduce planning laws that support existing pubs with an inclination to retain premises for that purpose.
Only allow a change of use or redevelopment to proceed if strict criteria are met
Councils should limit the number of high street shops selling alcohol - a shift in emphasis away from cheap off-license alcohol could embrace more community pubs
Publicans should look to diversify and take on extra services such as book swaps or parcel collection, therefore putting them in a better position to claim Asset of Community Value (ACV) status. This gives local communities a better opportunity to take control of the assets and facilities important to them if necessary
Councils in turn need to publicise the opportunity for pubs to apply for ACV status
Further consideration needs to be given to the proposed minimum alcohol unit price - this would put a stop to supermarkets selling alcohol at a loss, thus providing pubs with a more level playing field.
Rags Martel has more on the story:
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