It should come as no surprise to people who use pubs in their area that many are endangered. At the last count (the second half of 2015), pubs are closing at a rate of twenty seven a week. This is a lot – though it’s less than the thirty closures a week a couple of years ago. The UK currently has 52,750 pubs – that’s a fifth less than the 66,177 ten years ago. Why are pubs closing? There’s a multitude of reasons, not least beer tax, cheap supermarket cans, changing demographic (and with it, cultural change), high rent – and of course the recession and the smoking ban.
Wolverhampton isn’t immune from pub closures. Far from it. Bushbury is a prime example of an area than once had several pubs, but is left without any. The King Charles was the most recent closure. The website, ClosedPubs.co.uk lists many lost Wolverhampton pubs, but even this doesn’t come close to the full amount that have gone.
A new Facebook page has been launched called ‘Love Your Local‘, with the aim 0f raising awareness of the risk to pubs, bringing pub users together to share information about their pub and providing information on ways people can band together to secure the future of their pub. Nothing is foolproof of course, but registering your local as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) is a good start.The Claregate pub on Codsall Road
There are a couple of pubs in Wolverhampton with ACV status. The victorious battle for The Claregate saw pub users band together under the banner of ‘Save Our Claregate’ when Marstons were pushing to sell the pub site to a care home company – this would have seen The Claregate demolished and a care home built in its place. The Ashmore Inn, The Harrowby Arms and The Rookery Tavern also benefit from the protection of being ACVs.
The best thing about registering your pub as an ACV is that it’s easy – the local council and the Campaign for Real Ale both provide guidance and anyone can do it – you don’t need to belong to CAMRA or any other organisation for that matter – you only need to care enough about the future of local pubs.
If you care about Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire pubs, visiting ‘Love Your Local’ will help you add a line of defence to your pub/s.