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Campaigners call time on pub closures
Real ale lovers in Bradford fear a rising number of pub closures is “ripping the heart out of the community” after a report revealed 21 locals in West Yorkshire have closed in six months.
Members of Bradford branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) say they believe around 50 pubs in the city have shut their doors over the last five years and blame a rise in beer duty, the economic climate and the smoking ban for the decline.
CAMRA branch secretary John Bell said the Admiral Nelson on Manchester Road was one of the most recent closures in the area – with others including the Listers Arms and Grade II listed Cock And Bottle.
He urged residents and the Government to act to stop pubs shutting because “once they’re gone they’re gone”.
Mr Bell said: “Pubs have always been meeting places and to take them away is like ripping the heart out of the community.
“There aren’t many pubs left within a few miles of the city. Manchester Road used to have 28 pubs, now I think it has two. The old Listers Arms has become a solicitors and further up the road the Admiral Nelson, which shut only a few months ago, looks like it’s been boarded up for apartments. The Cock And Bottle, one of the city’s most historic pubs which closed last January, has been bought and doesn’t look like it will remain a pub. Once they’re gone they’re gone.
“I think the economic state of the country is part of it – people have less money to spend on a pint, but there are other things like the cost of beer duty, the smoking ban and the fact a lot of pubs used to be based in the heart of industrial areas that aren’t there anymore.
“I don’t think anything can be done to reopen the pubs that have closed, but there are things we can do to slow down the decline, like a freeze on duty and for big pub landlords to be less restrictive.”
National research commissioned by CAMRA that Britain’s national pub closure rate now stands at 12 pubs per week, with 21 closing in West Yorkshire between September 2011 and March 2012.
The organisation claims there has been a 42 per cent increase in beer duty since 2008 and is urging people to support a 33,000-signature strong petition calling on the Government to debate the rate of taxation.
Mr Bell said: “They definitely need to look at things because I’m not sure the duty increase is helping anything. When you look at it, whenever a pub closes people lose their jobs.
“There are places that are opening and bucking the trend, but it’s rare. I’m not sure there’s going to be any sort of resurgence, but there are things we can do to stem the threat of pub closure.”
For more information about the campaign, visit camra.org.uk/saveyourpint.