Derby pub up for national prize

Liam Barnes

BBC News

A Derby local is one of 16 finalists in the running to be crowned as the best pub in the UK.

The Smithfield is on the Campaign for Real Ale's (Camra's) list of contenders for the title of Pub of the Year, with the overall winner set to be announced in February.

It's already won the title for the organisation's Derby branch for 2018 and 2019.

Camra described the pub as "a handsome riverside pub" that places "a strong emphasis on new breweries and a good selection of craft keg beer".

Smithfield Derby pub of the year

The top 16 contenders boast the perfect mix of the essential characteristics which make a great pub - great service, a welcoming atmosphere, fantastic decor, great value for money, and, most importantly, quality real ale."

Ben WilkinsonNational director, Camra

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'New' pub wins county CAMRA pub of year title

The New Union, a pub that stood closed and even doubled up as the Conservative Party's constituency headquarters for a number of years, has been named Camra pub of the year and cider pub of the year.

Phil walker pulling a pint at the New Union
Philip Walker

Perhaps ironically, it was a Liberal Democrat councillor, Philip Walker, who moved in when the Conservatives moved out, and reopened the building as a pub.

Camra officials said: "The New Union is a popular community gathering spot hosting a weekly quiz, fortnightly music nights along with other events such as carol singing, live music and whisky tastings."

Joint Pub of the Year runners up were the Watermill at Ings and the Stag Inn, Dufton.

Toughen up policies on Lewisham pub conversions - CAMRA

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Lewisham Council has been urged to strengthen planning policy around pub conversions amid concerns property developers see boozers as “easy targets.”

This comes after the number of pubs in the borough has decreased by 50% since the early 2000s.

Speaking at a sustainable development committee, pub protection officer at the Campaign for Real Ale, Neil Pettigrew, said while the borough had a strong pub policy, it could be made stronger.

“We recognise Lewisham has a strong pub protection policy at the moment but we would like to see it made much stronger, particularly because property developers feel pubs are an easy target.

“An example which has cropped up recently in Forest Hill is the All In One pub.

“It is a popular pub used by the community, lots of meeting and clubs meet there.

A property developer walked in, made an offer on the premises and submitted an application,” he explained.

“What we would like to see is stronger policies to make it clear to property developers that they will not get permission to demolish pubs or to change them to residential use. That would be our main objective,” he added.

This comes after the council undertook a review of the circumstances impacting pubs.

Anyone who wishes to change a pub to any other use needs a full planning application submission.

Lewisham Council officer David Syme said there were a number of policies to protect pubs in the draft London Plan, including making sure any development in a pub does not compromise its future.

The committee will consider the recommendations made at its next meeting.

Pubs in danger: Six charts on how the British drink

People in a pub
Getty Images

Across the UK, people are spending more money on gin and craft beer, and there are more breweries open today than there were in the 1930s.

But 18 pubs across the country closed every week in the second half of 2017, according toThe Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

So how are UK drinking habits changing? What are the UK's favourite drinks and how often are adults drinking?