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Remember your local pub when celebrating London Beer Week

As highlighted in your online edition (6 brewery tours and beer tastings in London to celebrate London Beer Week 11/2/16), February marks a London wide celebration of beer. Many of your readers will probably know of a local pub in Croydon that may have closed in recent years. In my report “Keeping Local” I discovered that between 2003 and 2012 400 pubs across London were demolished. Increasingly pubs are being converted into retail and residential units.

The local pub can often be at the centre of a community, and has the potential to be an anchor business for other enterprises. Through my lobbying I secured a change to the Mayor’s planning document that helped increase the protection for pubs. This included more stringent guidance to local councils. Pub landlords should work in partnership with residents by opening up space for art exhibitions, book swaps and clubs helping such venues qualify for Asset of Community Value status. This adds another form of protection from change of use.

In the spirit of celebrating London Beer Week, can I encourage residents to use this as an opportunity to revisit their local pub, and use it on a regular basis. Planning protections can only go so far in preserving this resource. We need to support our local otherwise face losing it for good.

Steve O’Connell                                                                                 Conservative London Assembly Member for Croydon & Sutton

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