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REVEALED: The shocking number of Croydon pubs which closed in a decade

REVEALED: The shocking number of Croydon pubs which closed in a decade
Dec 07, 2018 Shaking Hands 0 comments
This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 06/12/2018.

REVEALED: The shocking number of Croydon pubs which closed in a decade

Many of our favourite locals around Croydon, Sutton and Bromley have shut for good.

New figures reveal the sad state of the pub industry as a shocking number of boozers in Croydon have closed in the last decade.

Younger readers may struggle to believe it but Croydon was once a place which truly came alive at night, mainly due to the sheer number of pubs and bars dotted around the borough.

But now it is common to see pubs boarded up, turned into supermarkets or in the process of being demolished to make way for more homes.

With nearly a quarter of the UK’s pubs taking their last orders since 2008, the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) argues communities suffer as small local pubs are lost.

The situation has been reflected across London, where 16% of pubs and bars have closed in the last ten years. There are now 3,540 in the capital.

However, while the number of pubs is falling, there are more employees working in pubs than there were ten years ago.

What is the situation in Croydon?

Nearly one in three pubs in Croydon have closed in the last 10 years – leaving about 90 pubs and bars in the borough.

That is an estimated 40 fewer than in 2008, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show.

Among the well-known pubs which we have waved goodbye to in that time were the Swan and Sugarloaf, The Gun Tavern, The Red Deer in South Croydon and The Flora Sandes in Thornton Heath.

The Gun Tavern

The pub, in Church Street, close to Surrey Street Market, closed in October 2012 when it became an American burger and steak restaurant.

The boozer had been serving a range of beers and ales to locals since at least the 1880s.

In more modern times it was a well-known attraction for heavy rock bands playing at weekends and also put on jazz evenings.

Swan and Sugarloaf

This landmark building, in Brighton Road, South Croydon, was constructed in 1896 and was even on the bus timetables.

But the old building is now used by shoppers not late-night revellers.

A Tesco Express store now occupies the space – once filled with people sipping pints – after the pub closed in 2011.

Are pubs closing in Sutton and Bromley as well?

Pubs have been shutting at a similar rate in Sutton as in Croydon, and while they are closing in Bromley as well it is at a slower rate.

One in three pubs in Sutton has closed in the last decade, according to ONS.

There are now around 50 pubs and bars in Sutton, an estimated 20 fewer than in 2008.

In comparison, one in six pubs in Bromley have shut in this time. There are now around 105 pubs and bars in Bromley, an estimated 20 fewer than in 2008.

What is happening to staff?

While pubs now tend to have more employees than a decade ago, the number of people working in the industry is falling.

In 2008, the average pub in the UK employed five people. Now, the figure stands at eight.

In Croydon, a similar trend has been seen, with the average pub employing eight staff in 2018, up from five in 2008.

Despite this, there has been a drop of 28% in the total Croydon pub workforce, to 900 this year.

On average in Sutton a pub employs nine members o staff, up from eight in 2008.

Despite this, there has been a drop of 14% in the total Sutton pub workforce, to 600 this year.

And in Bromley on average there are 10 staff, up from nine in 2008.

Despite this, there has been a drop of 17% in the total Bromley pub workforce, to 1,250 this year.

Why is this happening?

The ONS’s “Economics of Ale” report shows that there are 11,000 fewer pubs and bars nationwide than before the 2008 recession.

But the turnover of the pub industry has remained strong, as larger chains focus on bigger bars at the expense of smaller pubs.

In 2008, the average pub in the UK employed five people. Now, the figure stands at eight.

The report suggests this may be because surviving pubs have moved onto offering more labour-intensive services such as food or accommodation.

Camra has called for reform to business rates and cuts in beer duty to help tackle the loss of pubs. It also wants a full review of the Pubs Code, which governs the relationship between firms who own 500 or more pubs and their tenants.

Pubs help people ‘feel connected’ to community

The organisation’s chief campaigns and communications officer, Tom Stainer, said: “These shocking new figures show the huge loss that has been felt by communities up and down the country as beloved locals have closed down.

“By focusing on the stability of turnover from pubs and bars since the recession this study fails to measure the loss of the benefits that local pubs bring to their communities.

“Pubs play a unique role in offering a social environment to enjoy a drink with friends, they help combat isolation and loneliness and help people feel connected to their community.

“With a quarter of pubs closing in the last decade, we need the Government to act now to save our pubs from extinction.”

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