WE really are lucky to a have so many excellent pubs in this area. From old-fashioned coaching inns to village locals; big, modern places to little back-street boozers. On any given night in Devizes alone, you have a choice of 20 different Real Ales – some from Devizes, Pewsey, Salisbury, Netheravon, Holt or Ramsbury, others from much further afield.

If that doesn't do it for you then there are imported beers, a wide selection of wines, soft drinks that aren't just for kiddies and many representatives of the new phenomenon that is known as craft beer. It was unthinkable only a decade or so ago but now many pubs also serve top-notch teas and coffees. If you want food then you can get cheap 'n' cheerful grub, cheffy-type meals and lots in between.

Our pubs are social centres too. There are leagues for skittles, pool, darts, rifle shooting, quiz and crib. If you want to start a tiddly-winks league, you'll most likely find support. You can listen to all sorts of live music or enjoy some excellent stand-up. If you want to sing or dance, you can do that too. We’ve never had it so good. Or have we?

Not many weeks go by without the Gazette carrying a story about a pub closing or being on the brink. In Devizes and the surrounding villages alone recent years have seen the end of the Elm Tree, Rising Sun, Bell (Potterne), Drummer Boy, Bridge (West Lavington), Artichoke, Nag’s Head, Owl, Stagepost, Kings Arms (Market Lavington), Queen’s Head, Wiltshire Yeoman, Clock, Royal Oak (Devizes) and so forth. The story’s normally pretty similar – increasing costs and falling trade. A sad state of affairs all round. And now it looks like the Cavalier in Eastleigh Road might join the list.

Let’s be honest here. The Wadworth estate contains the highest number of picture postcard or traditional pubs I can think of. Most in Devizes fit that bill. But not the Cavalier. It’s a modern-ish estate pub.

Most people would say it’s nothing special and I can’t imagine many people making a significant journey to the pub, unless it were for a specific function. But that’s not the point of a pub like the Cavalier. It’s there to serve its local community. Few can deny that it does that job well.

In last week’s Gazette, Richard Read of the Cavalier Conservation Group was reported as telling Devizes Town Council that: "The Cavalier is not just a pub. It is a community hub, a place where family and friends meet regularly making it one of the busiest pubs in town."

The town councillors agreed with Richard and have registered their opposition to the closure. In a post to a Facebook group named ‘The Cavalier Conservation Group’, Richard went further, saying: “The Cavalier provides unrivalled facilities for both darts and skittles in the town. It has four darts teams, one of which is an all ladies team, several skittles teams, a football team and a pool team. It also boasts a large community of local people who meet regularly for all types of different activities. Bingo, pole dancing classes gatherings for everything from Christenings to funerals, but most of all it's a regular meeting place for friends to spend an evening together to enjoy a social drink or two.”

If that’s not a description of a proper pub that serves its local community, then I don’t know what is.

Devizes wouldn’t be Devizes without Wadworth. I salute its renovation programme which has breathed new life into pubs such as the Black Swan and the Three Crowns and is soon to do the same for the Bell by the Green. But it seems like they’re sacrificing the Cavalier to help fund this.

Surely there’s another way? The Cavalier is not a heritage pub or a place of great architectural charm but it is a pub – and a proper pub that serves a lot of people. It’ll be a great shame if it goes.