Catering equipment distributors focusing on serving the UK pub market face seeing their customer base shrink after it emerged that closures still remain sky high.
Data released today by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) reveals that the number of pubs shutting currently stands at a “whopping” 31 a week.
The closure rate is at its highest average for some time. At the end of last year it stood at 28 a week and in March last year it was 26 a week.
Suburban areas remain the worst hit, with 3% of the nation’s suburban pubs being lost over the last six months.
CAMRA says that one of the major problems facing the sector is that pubs can be demolished or converted to supermarkets, estate agents and a range of other uses without planning permission.
“Popular and profitable pubs are being left vulnerable by gaps in English planning legislation as pubs are increasingly being targeted by those wishing to take advantage of the absence of proper planning control,” said head of communications, Tom Stainer.
“It is utterly perverse that developers are able to demolish or convert a pub into a convenience store or many other uses without any requirement to apply for planning permission.”
CAMRA is continuing to lobby the government in a bid to get the planning laws overturned.
Its research shows that pubs support over one million UK jobs and inject an average of £80,000 into their local economy each year.