REAL ale campaigners have urged councils to do more to save local pubs after revealing almost 30 bars a week are closing down.
The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said the number of pubs closing every week, currently 28, could be reduced if local authorities were given the power to block conversions.
In recent years, Hartlepool pubs The Station, in Seaton Carew, The Pink Domino and The Shakespeare on Catcote Road and The Powlett, off Easington Road, have all been converted into shops.
The Mowbray, on Mowbray Road, and The Woodcutter in Kingsley Avenue have also more recently been redeveloped after struggling to stay afloat due to falling customer numbers.
Now Camra has called for more to be done to prevent further closures.
Head of communications Tom Stainer said: “Camra is grateful to the trailblazing councils who are leading the way in pub protection but it is still too few, we want all councils to follow suit and we hope the ideas in this report provide a useful starting point.”
Jon Whitfield, of town-based Euro Property Management, has overseen the transformation of former Hartlepool pubs but admits he understands Camra’s campaign.
He said: “I agree that more should be done to help save the pubs which are failing, as they are an important part of the community.
“A lot of the time though, the national breweries are not investing, and until that changes then I can only see further decline.
“I think the way forward is for the pubs to be freehold, and run in smaller units. In our last project at The Mowbray, we have introduced a smaller unit in there which operates as a pub. It is run independently, free from any brewery involvement, and I think that is the way forward.”
A spokesman for Hartlepool Borough Council said: “The council values the role that pubs have to play in the local community, including the positive impact they can have on the local economy. Indeed, this is demonstrated by applications the Council has approved in recent years.
“However, there will always be occasions when market forces and other factors lead to the closure of pubs but the council has very little influence over this.”