One hopes that the arguments for the social value of local pubs have been accepted, but of course in a time of economic recession it's not so easy to protect them. The complexity of factors, like the availability of inexpensive drinks through supermarkets, the dominance of pubcos, restrictive covenants on sites and so on, mean some rapid joining up of planning, taxation and social policies could be needed if the decline is to be halted.
'A proposal to change a pub in a Wiltshire village to residential use was rejected by an inspector. The applicants argued that the pub was not viable because it had lost £40,000 in the previous year. But the inspector found that the only other nearby pub mostly sold beer and lacked family facilities or potential to offer an extensive range of food.
'He concluded that the loss of the pub would be detrimental to the community and that the applicants appeared to have paid more than the business was worth based on its turnover. Letters from residents suggested that the premises had developed an unfriendly environment and the inspector accepted that the pub would be viable if it met local demands.'