London mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged to make it harder for pubs to close, after new figures showed that the capital has lost 25% of its pubs since 2001.
According to the figures, 1,220 pubs have closed in London over the past 15 years. Khan said ‘protecting the capital’s cultural gems’ was of the utmost importance.
The audit of pub numbers is the first strand of the mayor’s Cultural Infrastructure Plan for 2030, which sets out to identify what is needed in order to sustain London’s future as a cultural capital. London’s night czar, Amy Lamé, has also now launched a public consultation and guidance on how boroughs can protect pubs and safeguard them from closure.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) will undertake an annual audit on pub numbers. The ‘Culture and the night time economy’ is open to public consultation until 31 May. City Hall is also inviting correspondence on how to promote the sector.
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.’
The figures show that two London boroughs – Barking and Dagenham – had reported a loss of more than half of their pubs. Closure numbers average at 81 pubs a year. In 2001, there were 4,835 pubs in London. However by 2016, this number had fallen to 3,615.
Night czar, Amy 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.’