Many local people will have been disappointed to learn that The George pub in Wanstead is soon to stop being a Wetherspoons pub.

There are fans and foes of Wetherspoons pubs. They provide food and drink at reasonable prices. The George has been typical over the years, providing a place to go and socialise for young and old alike. 
The pub has been particularly good with its beers on offer - always a good choice, sourced from local breweries.

A number of snobs look down their noses at Wetherspoons pubs, most probably having never honoured such establishments with their presence.

What the loss of a pub like the George does is take away a basic rubric of the community. The pub is a community focus.

Pubs generally are under pressure, with countless closures announced every day across the country.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Paul Donovan says that pubs are the hub of the communityPaul Donovan says that pubs are the hub of the community

Inflationary pressures have seen the cost of drink and food rise. The prices have put many pubs beyond the means of some people already struggling to survive.

Yet, pubs are needed, especially in an increasingly atomised world. Pubs are somewhere to go and be with other people in person, have a drink and some reasonably priced food. A hub, that should host local groups and community events.

The appetite for such provision was evidenced by the Wanstead Beer Festival last October. The event sold out early, there was certainly a great appetite for reasonably priced food and drink. Hopefully, there will be similar support for our second festival this October.

But can there be more? More community-based pubs, created around food and drink that most people can afford. Pop-up pubs are a concept successfully run in many parts of the country. Maybe, their time has come to arrive here?

There are, of course, several local pubs in the area offering a good service - they need our support. But there needs to be more choice, especially at the lower end of the price bracket.

It remains to be seen what will happen with The George. Many will miss the old place. But other new alternatives could emerge that help foster that vital community spirit. Somewhere we can all go to eat, drink and be merry at a reasonable price? 

  • Paul Donovan is Labour councillor for Wanstead Village ward, Redbridge Council and a blogger (