They say you’ve got to use it or lose it. And those words are never more true that when we’re talking about local pubs.
When we launched our Love Your Local campaign, it was certainly about supporting and celebrating the local pub.
But it was also about rallying people to get behind what can be, in the best examples, a focal point for local communities.
Pubs are not just places to drink, but also vital hubs where people meet, socialise and relax. In the best cases, as we see time and time again on our Love Your Local pages each Thursday, they become lifelines.
The campaign is also about calling on local authorities to protect these community assets, and to do whatever they can do stop them being lost forever.
This is vitally important at a time when, for pub companies faced with a struggling outlet, the easy option can seem to be to sell it off for housing.
Not every pub can be saved, of course, but in the right hands where profit is perhaps not the primary concern, wonders can be achieved. And there is a piece of legislation designed to help this to happen.
The Localism Act allows local authorities to designate buildings – for example pubs – as community assets.
In the case of a local pub, that gives local people the chance to have a go at saving it before it is thrown to the bulldozers. Certainly the Fox and Hounds in Denmead, which we report on today, would see to be a prime candidate for this treatment.
It’s the only pub in its immediate area, and has the backing of local people who don’t want to see it lost.
Yet Winchester City Council has shied away from putting it on the Community Asset Register for reasons which do not entirely convince us.
Undeterred, campaigners are going to try again to get it listed. We hope their pleas are carefully considered.