The heart and sole of many thriving communities, the great British local as we know and love it is under threat.
In Britain, we are currently losing 13 pubs a week. There are many factors contributing to this tragic demise of our community hubs, one of which is development.
In a recent survey 61.3% of people said their local pub had been under threat of closure/development at some time.
In the same survey, 90.2% of people said having a local pub improved their well-being. Unfortunately, these assets of community life are disappearing from our streets at an alarming rate.
Below, is a map of just a few of the pubs that have shut their doors in Manchester.
Julie Holloway had been in the pub trade for 10 years, until recently when her and her husband were forced to make the difficult decision of selling up; “We had just come out of a pub and were approaced by [a comapny] numerous times to take on a pub 80 miles away. We decided to give it ago and signed on in April 2014.
“The area manager said we had £30,000 to spend and we decided the garden needed improvement as it was dangerous. Designers came out twice and we believed things were progressing. Then, in January 2015 we had a new area manager and he said there was no money!
“We then had our cooker condemed and [the comapny] decided not to put in a replacement gas cooker, but an electric one, and to do this they had to dig up the road, this took 10 weeks! Our kitchen help left and trade was terrible.
“We gave notice and I stayed to cover the notice period, I was continually asked to do another week, then another. I was distressed and couldn’t run the pub on my own. So, we cleaned up and came back home.
“The next day our area manager thanked us for leaving it so tidy and asked if I wanted another pub. After a few months I asked for compensation for money lost. What came back was a letter saying money was missing and the pub had fleas. This was all lies. We left on the Sunday and the pub reopned on the Friday, so was obviously left spotless.
“Bailifs turned up at our home and we are now paying £50 a month of debt! They can afford the best lawyers and we got fined £14,000.”
Below are just some of the things people told a recent survey contributed to the demise of pubs.
The Lost Pubs Project lists over 36,000 pubs that have closed it’s doors across Britain. However, once a pub is closed, or even demolished, it’s not entirely the end of the road.
When asked why so many pubs are closing, Julie Holloway said: “People don’t use them, but on Christmas Day, say it’s their local. The Landlords fail to maintain. I was promised a small kitchen, it never happened. Promised new carpet, never happened. The cost for owners is crazy.”
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, commented: “Many independent pubs have closed in recent years, so it is wrong to suggest that the leased and tenanted model is the cause of pub closures. The model is actually a popular choice because it minimises the risks and expenses typically involved with running a business and offers publicans considerable support to help them succeed.
“The sad reality is that pub closures are being driven by increasing and considerable tax pressures from a range of sources; particularly high beer duty, unfair business rates and VAT. This is deeply concerning because pubs are a great British institution and are often the social hub of their community.”
The Carlton Tavern in Kilburn, London, built in 1920, was demolished in April 2015 by Developers. At the time, the building was being considered by Historic England for listed status and ACV (Asset of Community Value) status. CLTX did not have permission from Westminster City Council for the demolition, however by the time the council arrived, the damage had been done.
The illegal move caused uproar in the community, and the developers were ordered by the council to rebuild the Carlton Tavern brick-by-brick, in an unprecedented move. However, the pubs previously untouched 1920s interior will be impossibe to replicate.
Last month, it was announced that the Government will be giving a financial boost to rural pubs in England. The scheme helps local pubs in rural areas by giving them the funding to offer customers over essential services, such as post office services, shops and libraries.
To find out more on how you can list your local pub as an Asset of Community Value, click here.