“You’ll miss your local boozer once it’s gone!” – says Cardiff campaigner.
Campaigners have launched a bid to protect Cardiff’s traditional pubs from the influx of corporate soulless chains.
Cardiff Civic Society and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have launched a new campaign to save the city’s traditional pubs from chain competition and structural issues within the industry.
The Cardiff Civic Society claims that authorities have not done enough to protect the city’s working-class heritage, instead favouring corporate chains and whitewashed, generic developments.
“Traditional Cardiff pubs are an invaluable part of the character of our city, too many have been lost already, and too often replaced with meaningless soulless developments,” said Nerys Lloyd Pierce, Chairperson of Cardiff Civic Society.
“Our traditional pubs help give Cardiff its unique vibe, and are a welcome diversion from the bland, corporate chains that threaten to turn our city into a homogenous and soulless urban wasteland,” she said.
The campaign also wants to encourage Cadw, the Welsh government agency charged with preserving the historic environment, to protect these venues to safeguard them for the future.
This means providing legislative protection from the government to safeguard Cardiff’s most iconic and historic watering holes.
“We are trying to get Grade II listing for suitable establishments, and to encourage Cardiff Council to locally list ones that are of community importance,” said Nerys.
Grade II listed buildings are protected due to their historical and architectural significance. It also means that alterations and building work cannot be carried out without consent from relevant authorities
“We believe that insufficient importance has been allocated to the city’s working-class heritage, either by Cadw or Cardiff Council,” she said
The main issues confronting the future of Cardiff’s historic pubs are very much structural in their nature.
“The majority of pubs are no longer owned by breweries, instead, they belong to Pub Companies which to them are money makers, and if they don’t ‘perform’ they will be sold for redevelopment,” explained Brian Francis, liaison co-ordinator for CAMRA Wales.
CAMRA is a volunteer community organisation that campaigns for traditional practices within British pubs.
“Essentially, the structure of the industry has moved too far away from brewery owned estates that actually cared for their heritage,” he said.
The impact of Covid on the industry has also had a profound effect on pub finances as well as drinking habits.
“Covid meant that many pubs lost income and to be honest have never fully recovered financially from it,” said Nerys. “Drink is cheaper to buy in the supermarket, so there is an increase in people staying at home to drink rather than going out.”
Brian also believes that there has been a shift in people’s behaviour toward drinking.
“The days of manual labour are gone, together with the consequential after-work drinks to make up for a day’s work,” he said. “As a result, people just don’t use pubs for the reasons and at the frequency they once did.”
The issue of pub closures is not a new one, however, it has certainly been aggravated by both Covid and the cost-of-living crisis.
A list of traditional pubs similar to The Claude is being compiled by CAMRA in order to be protected
Each year Wales Online publishes articles about the famous pubs that have ceased trading in the city, something that this campaign aims to reverse.
“It’s impossible to know which pub will be next in the firing line, that’s why it’s important to get protection for as many places as possible now,” said Nerys.
“Go to your local and show it some love, these pubs need people to give them life and relevance,” she said.
“Go tonight because you’ll miss your local boozer once it’s gone!