Raising the bar

In August this year, Wandsworth council in south London moved to protect 120 of its best-loved pubs from the threat of redevelopment, becoming the first local authority in the country to do so.

Deputy council leader Jonathan Cook declared it a “genuine defence against the relentless spread of mini-supermarkets and estate agents”. “We know how much our residents love their locals,” he said, before describing them as “the epicentre of community life”.

It was a rare piece of good news for the pub, that great British institution that sometimes appears to be in terminal decline. It’s true that pubs are closing at a staggering rate. The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) estimates that 27 pubs a week are calling last orders for the final time.