LEWISHAM borough has lost 53 pubs in the past decade warns a councillor who says tough new rules are needed to stop them being decimated further.

Councillor Liam Curran led an inquiry into the problem and the sustainable development committee he chairs has published a report setting out ways to curb the decline.

News Shopper has previously highlighted the loss of Deptford's boozers, but pub problems are mirrored across the borough, which now has just 82 left.

Mr Curran said: "Pubs in this borough, and across London, are on the brink of decimation."

He said: "It’s a myth that most are economically failing. We have significant examples of rough old pubs that have been turned around and are now very successful."

Cllr Curran dismissed the perception that pubs are closing because people don't want to go to them, pointing to success stories like Catford Bridge Tavern which has been turned around under new management.

But there have been high-profile wrangles over others, including the Baring Hall Hotel in Grove Park which was saved from the wrecking ball by campaigners last year with hours to spare.

London pubs protection officer for Camra Dale Ingram said: "London's land values mean that even thriving and popular pubs are being sold for the development value of flats and housing."

He said: "Many pubs are being run down deliberately or overloaded with debt to defeat viability tests."

The committee has recommended six ways of preserving pubs to Lewisham's mayor, including using new planning guidelines to make developers prove why a building cannot stay as a drinking establishment.

A Mayor and Cabinet meeting considered the report last night (Oct 3) and a decision is due at a later date.

But Cllr Curran warned: "We don't have a lot of time so a decision has to be made soon to make sure we have a robust planning regime and give pubs de facto protection."


Lewisham's biggest pub losses by ward 2001-2011

Whitefoot lost 2 pubs - 100 per cent of its total.

Evelyn (Deptford) lost 16 pubs - 76 per cent of its total.

Telegraph Hill lost 5 pubs - 71 per cent of its total.

Downham lost 2 pubs - 67 per cent of its total.

Rushey Green lost 5 pubs - 55 per cent of its total.

Lewisham Central lost 5 pubs - 42 per cent of its total.

Grove Park lost 1 pub - 33 per cent of its total.

Sydenham lost 2 pubs - 29 per cent of its total.

New Cross lost 6 pubs - 28 per cent of its total.

Brockley lost 4 pubs - 27 per cent of its total.