“Only locals can save the local”
That was the observation of social expert, Dr Rick Muir, when he addressed a meeting held as part of the Pig’s Ear festival on 4 December. Dr Muir is author of the recent Institute of Public Policy Research report, Pubs and places: The social value of community pubs.
The report highlighted the problem of mounting pub closures and the social and economic damage that results. Dr Muir said that some locals could be rescued by effective local action but this meant hard work and often financial commitment by individuals. Although there’s no easy way, there are pubs that have been saved. It also helped, he added, if the local authority was supportive and not willing to see a pub lost to the community. Commenting on Dr Muir’s presentation, John Pardoe, Chairman of the East London and City Branch of the Campaign For Real Ale said, “The great value of this work is that it supports the case for pub preservation with detailed research and clear evidence. We can assert the value of community pubs now with intellectual authority, and have ideas on how to save them.”
This article first appeared in the London Drinker Winter 2010 edition.