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New campaign to save Worcester's pubs
A CAMPAIGN to save more historic Worcester pubs has kicked off - amid fears far too many have fallen by the wayside.
Worcester's MP has issued a passionate rallying call to save more city boozers, saying he doesn't want to see any further closures.
Robin Walker's bid has been backed by the city branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which says parts of Worcester have become a "desert" for pubs.
In recent years scores of Worcester pubs have closed down and are increasingly being turned into houses.
It includes the like of the Berwick Arms in Bath Road, The Arboretum Inn in Northfield Street, The Babourne Inn in New Bank Street, Barley Mow in Sidbury and The Lansdowne Inn in White Ladies Walk, off Upper Tything.
Mr Walker says the Government has issued new powers to the public to help save more pubs from closure, but not enough people even realise they exist.
Under the Localism Act, people can now apply to get their pub listed as an 'asset of community value'.
Once a pub is listed, if the owner then wishes to sell it the local community must be given six months to come up with an alternative plan to try and preserve it first.
For each pub, 21 people have to put their names to it being included as a community asset.
Mr Walker is now calling upon Worcester people to join the campaign, saying if it drums up enough support it could prevent more closures.
He said: "The British Pub is an important national institution which holds a special place in our communities as a place to meet, watch sport and provide a significant contribution to our local economy.
"I would strongly encourage landlords and locals in Worcester to look into this process to protect their livelihoods as all it requires is 21 local electors to sign up to get their premises listed."
Mr Walker has also written to Chancellor George Osborne to ask him to freeze beer duty in the March budget.
His bid has been backed by CAMRA, which says the city has long reached a tipping point.
Worcester now has 90 public houses but the figure has fallen every year this century, and stood at more than 150 in the 1980s.
Bill Ottoway, from the Worcester branch of CAMRA, said: "The hope is that by getting people to register their local pub it could save more.
"I think it's only half the answer, because we still need to change the planning rules to make it more difficult to stop them becoming houses.
"If you look at Dines Green, for example, it's a pubs desert - places like the Drakes Drum have gone and there are more houses being built there, a church, a community centre but no new pub.
"Too many pub owners think they can make more money by selling the land for development."
For more details visit mycommunityrights.org.uk.
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