New report highlights plight of London pubs

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

  • Economic downturn

  • 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:

We have been asking you what you think about the decline of London's pub culture. Here's a selection:

"I like a pub where you can have a lively drink on a Friday night and a quite drink on a Sunday night - also pubs that serve food are always my favourites!"

– Kimberley Winter-Sullivan

"Only pub I drink in is Weatherspoons as you don't get 100 watt speakers blowing down ear drums and you can talk to each other...or I just like to have few pints at home."

– Mark Baird
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@itvlondon our local pubs are part of the community, have great beer & fund the local festival @thekingsheadn8 @devonshire_ @thegnrtavern

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