Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged to help halt the decline of pubs in the capital after a report from his office showed a 25% decline between 2001 and 2016.
The report shows that 1,220 pubs and bars have been lost in the last 15 years – taking the capital’s pub stock to 3,615 - an average loss of 81 pubs per year.
Barking & Dagenham was the worst affected area, having lost 56% of its pubs over the past decade and a half (although from a smaller base), while Newham’s has reduced by 52%. Other badly-affected boroughs include Croydon (45%), Waltham Forest (44%), Hounslow (42%) and Lewisham (41%). Hackney, the only borough that did not report an overall loss - saw an increase of 3% since 2001.
The number of pubs in the capital saw a net decline in all but three years since 2001, with the largest decline (345) seen in 2013.
Despite the fall in pub numbers, the sector’s role as an employer has grown 8.7% with 46,300 jobs now created by pubs in London – 3,700 more than in 2001. The average employment per pub has increased over that time from 8.8 persons to 12.8.
The GLA Economics report – entitled ‘Closing time: London’s public houses’ – also breaks down the number of pubs per borough. Westminster had by far the most at 459, compared to the next highest, Camden, with 263. At the other end of the scale, Barking & Dagenham now has just 28 pubs and Redbridge has 35. The median borough is Greenwich, which has 103.
In response to the report, London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé has launched a public consultation on ‘Culture and the night time economy’, which contains guidance on how boroughs across the city can use the current London Plan to protect public houses from closure. It includes encouraging boroughs to implement the Agent of Change principle – putting the onus on developers that build properties next to pubs to pay for soundproofing.
Khan said: “The Great British Pub is at the heart of the capital’s culture. From traditional workingmen’s clubs to cutting-edge micro-breweries, London’s locals are as diverse and eclectic as the people who frequent them.
“That’s why I’m shocked at the rate of closure highlighted by these statistics, and why we have partnered with CAMRA to ensure we can track the number of pubs open in the capital and redouble our efforts to stem the rate of closures.
“From the outset of my Mayoralty, I’ve made safeguarding and growing the night-time economy a key priority and this simply isn’t possible without a thriving pub scene. Together with my Night Czar, Amy Lamé, we will do all we can to protect pubs across London.”
Lamé said: “Every pub closed in London is a blow to a local community, and these statistics show that London’s locals are under real threat from a wide range of issues – from development to rising business rates. We all need to love our pubs, and not take them for granted.
“As an American who came to live in London over 20 years ago, I immediately fell in love with London’s pub culture. Running a pub of my own, I understand just how important they are to the life and spirit of a community.
“If you’re worried about your local watering hole, then please get in touch with CAMRA. We’re working closely alongside them to help safeguard the future of the capital’s pubs.”
Greater London CAMRA regional director, Geoff Strawbridge, said: “Pubs play a vital part in many people’s lives, providing a place to meet and socialise and feel part of a community. Yet London pubs are under enormous threats, notably from increasing business rates, high alcohol duties and property speculation. CAMRA has welcomed the opportunity to work with the Mayor in monitoring pub closures in the capital, and hopes this initiative will continue to draw attention to the plight of London pubs.”
See the full report attached
Files available for download
- PDF, Size 0.85 mb