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What’s in your local? A pint of beer or a pint of milk?

Pint of beer cheers with pint of milk

According to the Campaign for Real Ale, Britain is losing pubs at a rate of 18 a week. And many of them are being turned into convenience stores. Have pubs begun to disappear from your local area?

According to the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), more than 200 pubs have been converted into supermarkets since January 2010. Of these, 130 have been converted by Tesco and 22 by Sainsbury’s.

Apparently this is because pubs can very easily be converted into shops because planning permission isn’t required. Pubs are already designated as retail units.

Pub closures in your community

I find the sight of a boarded up, derelict pub pretty depressing. But I feel much more miserable when I see an express supermarket that clearly used to be a pub. At least when a local boozer is boarded up, there’s potential for it to be bought and reopened by a new landlord.

To me, pubs are so much more than just somewhere to purchase a drink and perhaps some food. Pubs are social spaces that bring people together. I just don’t think communities get the same social value from a quick trip to Tesco Express for some milk and a frozen pizza.

Not that Tesco and Sainsbury’s are the only ones to convert old pubs. They get taken over by a whole range of supermarkets and independent shops. Camra argues that current planning permission laws need to change in order to make it more difficult for supermarkets to take over premises, giving communities a better chance of saving their pubs.

Maybe we can help keep pubs open by popping into our local more often? Or perhaps you think local convenience stores are more valuable to you and your community?

Have any pubs closed recently in your local area?

Yes (72%, 207 Votes)

No (19%, 53 Votes)

I don't know (9%, 26 Votes)

Total Voters: 286

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I am not surprised that pubs are closing. Supermarkets sell enormous amounts of cheap and nasty booze. Some of the pub companies treat managers and landlords very poorly and it is no surprise that some pubs close and reopen several times before closing for good. I’m glad to see that many of the pubs that have closed are the ones that look uncared for or don’t bother stocking any real ale. That might not bother regulars but is hardly going to attract new customers.

I have not seen a pub converted into a supermarket, thank goodness. Wetherspoon are very good at taking over buildings with a history and converting them to pubs. Maybe they could convert a Tesco into a pub, retaining a few of the original features. ‘Unexpected beer glass in the clearing area.’ ‘Special offer – One pint for £2.10 or three for £7’.

When I first visited my flat with the idea of buying, I went for a pint in the local with my sister to chat over my decision. The local pub was gorgeous, and really friendly. Obviously I didn’t make my decision to buy my flat purely based on the pub, but it certainly added a feeling of community that made me feel happier about the area as a whole. Six months after I moved in it was converted into a Tesco. I was really sad, but especially so because there was already a Tesco close by, and a Sainsbury’s just across the road – how much shopping can one community do?!

Gerard Phelan says:
22 November 2012

Here in Epsom, two pubs closed in the last year or two, one to become a kitchen showroom, the other to become exclusive flats. Both though old and once famous had become run-down and unattractive to the casual visitor, so for ME they were no loss and both had other pubs within 1 minutes walk.
Conversions are not a one way street. Nearby towns have shops that have become bars / pubs and new bars have opened in Epsom.
It is a completely different matter in rural areas where the loss of one pub, might represent the loss of the only place to drink. However like the village store, they need to be regularly used and not treated as an emergency only resource.

I have noticed that a couple of pubs in Norwich have been converted into Tesco Locals. They were not exactly appealing as pubs and they served areas that had changed completely in character so the buildings are now fulfilling a useful purpose. Other pubs have been demolished and the sites redeveloped for housing. Several stand empty, boarded up and rotting away. Norwich was grossly over-pubbed so some rationalisation was on the cards. It seems to me that the best one’s have survived and some new establsihments have opened offering a better quality venue with more professional management, a warm welcome, decent food, a good range of ales, ciders, and wines served in excellent condition, clean toilets and comfortable furniture.

In the small town where I live, there are eight pubs in or around the town centre of which two are closed and three are struggling. Yet both Marstons and Wetherspoons are bidding to develop new sites [one with accommodation] and I think they will both be fairly popular attracting the large number of people who are repelled by the existing facilities or the management of them.