Wokingham Times Pub of the Year competitionBy Laura Herbert
February 06, 2013
A good pub is at the heart of any community, but in recent years many British boozers have pulled pints for the last time.
This is why The Wokingham Times is giving readers the opportunity to support their locals by taking part in our Pub of the Year competition.
Over the coming weeks a different pub from around the Wokingham borough will feature, along with voting forms for readers to vote for the best boozer.
John Hibbert, landlord of The Emmbrook Inn and chairman of Wokingham’s Pub and Drug Watch, said: “This will do us all good because we need something like this to bring people in and get them coming to pubs more often.
“Everyone is struggling at the moment and you can tell that by the amount of pubs that have closed – something like Pub of the Year will help raise awareness of pubs with Wokingham people with details of what we are doing.
“It is amazing what does go on in pubs, but we need people to support their local to make sure they don’t close.”
The New Rose pub, which served its last pint in 2010, is now home to popular chain Nando’s and Café Rouge, in Market Place, after the building was split.
Last year The Three Brewers pub, in Barkham Road, was sold by Punch Taverns for £227,500 and a planning application to build homes on the site was submitted in March last year.
Mr Hibbert added: “I don’t think people realise how important pubs are to the local area. The pubs that are surviving are the ones that look after their customers. I have got some really good regulars coming here.”
Figures from CAMRA show there has been a 30 per cent collapse in the volume of beer sold in pubs in the last six years with more than 7,000 pubs closing for good in that time.
Phil Gill, campaigns officer for Reading CAMRA, said: “The economy isn’t helping but there are a lot of other things affecting the pub trade.
“There’s the tax regime on alcohol, known as the beer duty escalator, where the Government is committed to above-inflation increases year on year.
“A large part of it is the pub companies, the large companies who own pubs and treat them as property investments rather than businesses which serve the community.
“Their sole concern is to get as much money as soon as possible out of the place so they will put in place very high rents and put restrictions on where pubs can buy their beer, which inflates the prices. If a licensee is paying high rents and high prices for the beer, they have to pass that on to the consumer.”
Over the coming weeks a voting form will be printed in The Times and you can let us when and where you visit your local pub by using #wokypubs on Twitter.