The Mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged to help halt the decline in the number of pubs in London, as he released new figures that reveal the number of locals in the capital have fallen by a quarter since 2001.
The figures – which show 1,220 pubs have been lost in the last 15 years . In 2001, there were 4,835 pubs in London. By 2016, this had fallen by 25 per cent to 3,615 – an average loss of 81 pubs per year.
Two London boroughs reported a loss of more than half of their pubs – Barking and Dagenham (a loss of 56 per cent) and Newham (52 per cent). Other badly-affected boroughs include Croydon (45 per cent), Waltham Forest (44 per cent), Hounslow (42 per cent) and Lewisham (41 per cent). Hackney, the only borough that did not report an overall loss – saw an increase of 3 per cent since 2001.
This audit of London’s public houses 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. The Cultural Infrastructure Plan will take into account a wide range of cultural assets, from dance studios to theatres and artist studios to nightclubs, with a view to embedding culture into the forthcoming London Plan, the Mayor’s development strategy for the capital, ensuring that culture is planned in a similar way to other vital services, such as housing and transport.
As part of his commitment to the capital’s pubs, the Mayor has committed to working together with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) to undertake an annual audit, so that the number of pubs in the capital can be tracked more closely, and efforts can be made to stem the flow of closures in the city.
As well as being intrinsic to London’s culture, public houses are also a vital economic driver, providing the first taste of work for many young people, generating one in six of all news jobs among 18-24 year olds. Although the number of pubs in the capital has dramatically fallen, employment in pubs has grown by 3,700 to reach 46,300 in 2016, an increase of 8.7 per cent.
London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé today 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. This encourages boroughs to implement the Agent of Change principle – putting the onus on developers that build properties next to pubs to pay for soundproofing, ensuring residents and revellers can co-exist peacefully.
Mayor of London, Sadiq 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.
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.”
‘Culture and the night time economy’ is open to public consultation until Wednesday 31 May. More information is available here: www.london.gov.uk/closingtime