A third of pubs have closed in West Norfolk since 2008
Nearly a third of the pubs in the borough of West Norfolk have closed in the last decade, new figures show.
With nearly a quarter of the UK’s pubs taking their last orders since 2008, the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) says communities suffer as small local pubs are lost.
There are now around 85 pubs and bars in West Norfolk, an estimated 40 fewer than in 2008, figures from the Office of National Statistics show.
The situation has been reflected across the East of England, where 22 per cent of pubs and bars have closed in the last 10 years. There are now 3,430 in the region.
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.
While the number of establishments has declined, there are more employees working in pubs than there were ten years ago. The report suggests this may be because surviving pubs have moved onto offering more labour-intensive services such as food or accommodation.
In 2008, the average pub in the UK employed five people. Now, the figure stands at eight.
In West Norfolk, a similar trend has been seen, with the average pub employing seven staff in 2018, up from four in 2008.
Alongside this, there has been a rise of 11% in the total West Norfolk pub workforce, to 1,000 this year.
The report comes days before West Norfolk planners hear an application to allow the closed Marshland Arms in Marshland St James to be converted into homes.
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.
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.
“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.”