Suffered the same demise

Yet again another public house in Sussex has suffered the same demise as the other 670 premises across the county.

Recent figures issued by CAMRA following a survey indicate about 18 British pubs are now shutting each week.

The Lamb Inn, Bilsham received the final nail in its coffin delivered by the Planning Inspectorate on December 27.

Following extensive objection by local residents and CAMRA to the original planning application raised on October3, 2011, a final appeal decision was made to give permission for the demolition of the pub and the building of 14 dwellings on the site.

The reason pubs are closing is almost wholly down to the pub-owning companies.

Private equity greed, followed by the recession, led to pubcos with vast debts that could only be serviced by fleecing their tenants, screwing their customers and failing to invest in their stock of pubs.

Starved of investment these pubs closed and continue to close.

Both Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns over-leveraged themselves with lots of debt pre-crunch and are now up against it – the only way they have to make money is by selling off their real estate.

Local communities need to be aware of the ruthless short-term commercial interests that are at work to destroy pubs, the use of which they have enjoyed possibly for generations.

Local communities have the responsibility to save their pubs, and it requires a very determined effort to make the authorities listen.

One of the greatest concerns should be the impact of pub closures on rural life.

The majority of pubs going out of business are in country villages.

The local pub is more than a watering hole, it is the centre of community life; a good pub is its heart and is an open living room for a village.

It is not just a place to have a beer, but it is the place to where the community spirit of rural life continues to thrive.

The village pub is something that many of us treasure, yet their future is far from certain.

Without this constant erosion by these large organisation’s it will not be long before we become just another dormitory for commuters.

D Watkins

Resident of Yapton

address supplied