TIME has been called on more than a dozen Hyndburn pubs, leaving communities without an important focal point.
Once-thriving pubs throughout the borough stand boarded-up and in darkness while many others display For Sale signs.
The latest casualties include the Cross Guns and Stag Inn within yards of each other in Church.
And Thwaites Brewery has applied for planning permission to convert the Great Eastern on Arnold Street, Accrington, into two homes - even though it is still open.
Licensees this week gave a number of reasons for the crisis hitting the pub trade including:
- Undesirables making a nuisance of themselves.
- A slowing of daytime drinking, making many pubs evenings-only.
- The high price of beer and competition from supermarkets.
- Drink-driving laws and poor transport links killing rural pubs.
But all agreed that the recent smoking ban was NOT to blame for the industry's problems.
Owen Morris, a spokesman for pressure group Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale, said: "Our research has shown that 56 pubs are lost across the UK every month and the fact that so many have closed in Hyndburn will mean that people are rapidly being deprived of the amenity of a local pub.
"There are several examples of threatened pubs that have been saved through effective campaigning and we would urge anyone with a passion for retaining their local to join Camra."
He added: "There are a number of reasons why pubs close but the most worrying is that nowadays they are worth more as dwellings than they are as businesses.
"Because of this there have been many cases where licensees have run their pubs into the ground, claimed that they are no longer viable and sold them on to a property developer."