According to government statistics, England and Wales have seen the disappearance of two pubs per day in the first half of this year. This amounts to a total of 383 pubs being demolished or converted for other purposes between January and June. Campaigners are now calling for changes to planning laws in order to protect pubs and prevent their decline.
The figures, compiled by commercial real estate specialists Altus Group, reveal that 230 pubs vanished in the three months leading up to June 30th. This marks an increase from the previous quarter, during which 153 pubs closed their doors. The data indicates that there were 39,404 pubs in England and Wales at the end of June, including those that are vacant and available to let.
Wales has experienced the greatest loss of pubs in the first half of this year, with 52 disappearing. London and the North West both lost 46 pubs each. In total, 386 pubs disappeared throughout the entirety of 2022.
Alex Probyn, President of Property Tax at Altus Group, is urging Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to take action in his autumn statement in November. Probyn suggests easing the pressure of business rates on the sector as one possible solution. Currently, businesses that pay business rates, including pubs, face an inflation-linked increase in April unless the government intervenes. This could result in a more than 6% increase in bills next year.
The Campaign for Pubs has raised concerns that even profitable pubs are being lost due to landlords looking to “cash in” by converting or demolishing premises for housing. The group is advocating for stricter penalties for “unauthorized conversions and demolitions” and is calling on the government to address this issue.
In conclusion, the rapid disappearance of pubs in England and Wales has sparked calls for change. The loss of these social and cultural hubs has prompted campaigners to demand planning law reforms to protect pubs from being converted or demolished. Action is needed to preserve these important establishments and ensure their longevity in local communities.
– PA Media
– BBC News