Mitcham residents are entrenched in a two-year stalemate to have their local reopened as research shows that pubs are dying out in the area.

Three times the national average number of boozers have shut in Mitcham, with seven out of 39 going to the wall since 2005, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

One of those, the Prince of Wales in Western Road, shut three years ago following a small fire, but its owners decided not to pay for repair work and instead attempted redeveloping the site into industrial units.

Merton Council ruled the once-thriving pub was a vital resource for the community, telling owners The Wellington Pub Company it would still be profitable while refusing planning permission.

Local councillor, Mark Allison, who has led a campaign to have the pub reopened, said: “There isn’t another pub in the entire Lavender Fields ward and there’s no doubt the Prince of Wales would be profitable if its owners decided to spend a bit of money.

“We’re concerned that they’re sitting on the site in the hope that the council will change its mind, but we can’t let that happen. "We need a good family pub in this area and more in Mitcham.”

With the Wellington Pub company unavailable for comment, Mitcham and Morden MP, Siobhain McDonagh joined calls for the Prince of Wales to reopen.

But Ms McDonagh’s party has come under fire from the BBPA for contributing to the death of the local by increases in alcohol tax.

Chief executive, Rob Hayward, said: “Instead of increasing the burden of tax and regulation, the Government should be trying to find ways of supporting, hard-working publicans, and the hundreds of thousands whose jobs depend on the pub trade.”

Six pubs in London shut every week with 167 closing down in the second half of 2008. A spokesman from the BBPA claimed Mitcham was among the worst affected areas.

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