CAMRA increases its efforts to save Norfolk’s pubs amid closures
- Credit: PA
The Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale is stepping up its efforts to protect pubs across the region from closure.
New figures have revealed that 29 pubs closed each week in the UK over the past year - with 17 of those shutting in suburban areas.
East Anglia meanwhile saw 32 premises close in the past 12 months.
CAMRA has today announced that it will target 3,000 pubs in England to be listed as Assets of Community Value (ACV) - a scheme which offers some protection against closure.
Ian Stamp, pub campaigns coordinator for the Norfolk and Norwich CAMRA branch, said: 'We've stepped up our efforts hugely in the last couple of months, and have a target of nominating 100 pubs this year out of a total of more than 530 in our branch area.
'The big thing we're trying to convey to people is that it is important to list pubs before they are in danger, as by the time you hear the pub has been bought by a supermarket, it will be too late.'
The law, which was first introduced in 2011, was strengthened earlier this year to ensure that ACV-listed pubs could not be demolished or converted into shops or other businesses without planning permission.
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So far around 800 premises in the UK have registered.
Those pubs will now receive a 'badge of honour' from CAMRA and the Department for Communities and Local Government to display in their premises.
Tim Page, CAMRA chief executive said: 'Pubs achieve ACV status by local people coming together and listing the pub as an asset. It is a badge of honour, a mark of quality and a crystal clear sign that the pub is valued by locals.
'With pub closure figures remaining high, and new figures showing seventeen suburban pubs are lost each week, it's even more vital that pubs are given protection by the government and that communities are given a say before they are demolished or converted.'
According to Martin Ward, vice-chariman of the Norfolk and Norwich CAMRA branch, around 20 pubs in the county have so far received ACV listing or were in the process of doing so.
But 23-year-old Josh Dickens, landlord of The Gordon in Thorpe St Andrew, said he had little faith in the scheme. His pub was listed in 2014.
He added: 'I commend CAMERA's efforts because they want the best for the pub industry, but I think they are barking up the wrong tree with this.
'I am more than concerned that a developer could still come and take over this site. They are still interested in this place, so if they have not been deterred by the listing, then what is the point.'
CAMRA's new campaign was launched today at the Great British Beer Festival in London by Community Pubs Minister Marcus Jones.
He said: 'Hundreds of communities have seized this opportunity and I am delighted this is being recognised today.
'However, we must be realistic that planning rules alone cannot keep pubs open which are not making money, therefore this Government's broader strategy of lower taxes, less regulation and a growing economy is the best way to support a thriving and diverse sector.'
To nominate a pub, visit norwichcamra.org.uk
Do you think enough is being done to protect our pubs? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772 684.