SUTTON'S pubs need to be protected from housing developers and saved as community resources, the borough's Assembly member said this week.
The Hope in Carshalton was the setting for Steve O'Connell's launch of a new report called "Keeping Local: How to save London's pubs as community resources".
In it, he calls for the capital's councils to adopt stringent criteria when considering the redevelopment or demolition of pubs, and a limit to the number of high street shops selling alcohol.
In London, more than 1,300 pubs have closed in the last decade – 400 of which have been demolished. Across the country, the number of pubs has shrunk in the last 30 years from about 70,000 to 50,000.
Mr O'Connell said: "Good pubs are vital, vibrant centres for their communities. The social impact of the community minded pub impacts beyond its walls.
"It is a place where people can congregate safely as part of a community and can help rid our streets of antisocial drinking in public places, drunken violence and intimidation. As well as fostering a sense of community, the pub industry creates tens of thousands of local jobs and acts as anchors drawing other businesses into the area.
"Unfortunately, a high number of these pubs are demolished or converted to other uses such as residential, retail, and professional services which radically alter community spaces and change the tone of the high street. Borough councils and pub managers should work together to make sure these community hubs continue to serve their local areas.
"The Hope in Carshalton is a brilliant community pub and I hope, thanks to this report, it will be around for a long time yet."
Rodger Molyneux, manager at the Hope, told the Advertiser just how much work it took to make The Hope successful. He said: "I know a lot of pubs around the country where the customers are coming together and buying the pub, which is what happened here three years ago, and has thankfully been successful.
"The pub was in danger of becoming a restaurant, as so many are nowadays, so we bought a 20-year lease on the pub and spent £170,000 and made it operate the way we wanted to – no TV or radio, it's a place you come to eat, drink and talk to people and have a reasonably civilised time.
"It was great that Mr O'Connell came here to promote his campaign. We want to encourage local authorities to protect pubs in their area so it is an excellent idea. They need encouragement to protect us and stop supermarkets pouncing on pubs.
"The Hope is doing fine, we're a free house which gives us flexibility and we've won prizes. We're doing quite well but a lot of pubs aren't and all the support they can get is invaluable.
"Our model is not right for all pubs, you have to reflect what's needed in your area, but we knew what was needed in Carshalton and it wasn't here so we created it. We invested a lot of time and money in the building and now we're making profits which is great, but you can never say things are always going to be like that. We need that support and protection."