London loses 1,200 pubs in 15 years

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London has lost nearly 1,200 pubs in 15 years, according to new data.

Hackney was the only London borough to report an increase in the number of pub openings.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged to carry out an annual audit of the number of pubs in the capital in a bid to prevent further closures.

This audit of London's public houses is the first strand of the mayor's cultural infrastructure plan - which sets out to identify what is needed in order to sustain London's future as a cultural capital.

City Hall believes the decline of the number of pubs can be attributed to rises in business rates, conflicts with residents and developers, and the relaxation of permitted development rights in 2015 - allowing certain types of development to go ahead without planning permission.

Two London boroughs - Barking and Dagenham (a drop of 56%) and Newham (52%) reported the loss of more than half of their pubs since 2001.

Other badly affected boroughs include Croydon (45%), Waltham Forest (44%), Hounslow (42%) and Lewisham (41%).

Places named after London pubs:

  • Tube stations named after pubs include Swiss Cottage, Royal Oak, Manor House, Angel and Elephant & Castle
  • Maida Vale is also named after a pub, the Hero of Maida
  • Other areas named after pubs include Fitzrovia (Fitzroy Tavern), Nag's Head in Holloway, Baker's Arms in Waltham Forest, New Cross in Lewisham, White Hart Lane in Tottenham.
  • It is believed that Pimlico is named after Ben Pimlico, a 16th Century publican "famous for his nut brown ale"
  • Charlie Brown's roundabout in Redbridge is named after a pub that stood there but was demolished in 1972 to make way for the M11

Mr Khan said: "The Great British pub is at the heart the capital's culture. From traditional workingmen's clubs to cutting-edge micro-breweries, London's locals are as diverse and eclectic as the people who frequent them.

"That's why I'm shocked at the rate of closure highlighted by these statistics, and why we have partnered with Camra to ensure we can track the number of pubs open in the capital and redouble our efforts to stem the rate of closures."

Greater London Camra regional director Geoff Strawbridge welcomed the mayor's support, adding "Pubs play a vital part in many people's lives, providing a place to meet and socialise and feel part of a community.

"Yet London pubs are under enormous threats, notably from increasing business rates, high alcohol duties and property speculation."

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