County losing five pubs every year

By Jonathan BarnesFIVE pubs are closing every year in Suffolk and many villages are in danger of “going dry”, it has been warned.The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said the county had lost more than 100 pubs in the past 20 years and warned rural inns were coming under increasing threat.

By Jonathan Barnes

FIVE pubs are closing every year in Suffolk and many villages are in danger of “going dry”, it has been warned.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said the county had lost more than 100 pubs in the past 20 years and warned rural inns were coming under increasing threat.

It has issued a “use it or lose it” message to villagers to support their local pubs before it is too late.


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The warning came as Camra published research that showed 26 pubs were closing each month across the country, while 438 others have an uncertain future.

Eight out of 10 closed pubs were being demolished forever or converted into homes, it added.

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The pressure group has launched a Community Pubs Foundation to help residents fight to keep their locals open.

Nigel Smith, Suffolk organiser for Camra, said about four or five pubs were closing every year across the county.

He added about 400 pubs were now the only remaining inn in their parish and large swathes of the county were now “dry”.

Mr Smith continued: “There are about 700 pubs in Suffolk and 30 years ago there were just under 1,000.”

Closures over recent years have included the Haughley Railway, the Hadleigh White Horse and the Thorington Street Rose, while several others are under threat of being converted into homes or business premises.

“One of the big problems is that many pubs are the last ones in their villages -

every time a pub closes, there isn't one for several miles,” said Mr Smith.

He added lifestyle changes had put pressure on pubs, with emphasis on catering for families and couples, while soaring property prices had made it attractive to convert premises into private homes.

“The loss of a pub is more significant now than in the days when villages had two or three pubs because the drinking community could move on to the next one. Now there is nowhere else to go,” said Mr Smith.

“Pubs are the focal point of many villages, some are 500 years old and have been at the centre of village life for generations.

“We need people to go out and support their local pub. When we get involved as a group, the pub is usually already threatened with closure and it's too late. They need to be supported year on year.”

Mr Smith said there were variations across the county with villages, such as East Bergholt, still managing to support a number of pubs, while a town like Eye only had one pub left.

“There is a big dry area just south of Bungay going towards Halesworth and another one over near Mildenhall. There are a large number of parishes that have gone dry,” he said.

Mike Benner, Camra chief executive, said its Community Pubs Foundation would work with residents whose pubs were under threat.

“We ask those who are seeking to demolish a pub or convert a pub for financial gain to pause and spare a thought for the effect this will have on the local community,” he said.

jonathan.barnes@eadt.co.uk

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