Using planning law to protect pubs

Dale Ingram is a planning consultant and Pubs Protection Adviser for CAMRA London Region. She has submitted a comprehensive objection to the Queensbury development here and writes below on how other pubs have been successfully saved from closure

In 2010, pub closures peaked at 52 per week. It fell back to 12 per week during 2011 but has risen this year to 18 per week (CAMRA’s statistics). In January 2012 Fleuret’s, the specialist pubs property agents, revealed that for the first time more than half of pub premises sold were going to other uses, as conversions or demolitions for residential schemes, or for offices, restaurants and retail.

During 2010, central government, through the planning system and new legislation, provided two key protections for pubs. The first is Para 70 (P70) of the National Planning Policy Framework, and the second is the provision in the Localism Act for Registers of Community Assets. P70 has been used on a dozen occasions since it came into force at the end of March to refuse consent or dismiss appeals for pub loss proposals. These include the Lark in the Park, Islington, the Carpenters Arms in Cambridge, the Cross Keys in Chelsea and Yew Tree, Matlock.

The Community Assets Regulations becme effective as recently as September, and Asset Registers are still very much in their infancy. However, campaigners at the Ivy House in Peckham not only succeeded in getting their beautiful 1930s pub listed at Grade II (with CAMRA’s help) but were the very first community group nationally to succeed in having their pub recorded formally by their council, Southwark, as an Asset of Community Value.

The process of nomination and registration is relatively straightforward, and the chief benefit is that if Registered premises are to be sold, they must be offered first to the nominating community group, who then have about 7 months to indicate an interest and make a bid. CAMRA can provide advice on how to do this.

Many local authorities are now implementing pubs protection policies in their local plans to make them consistent with the NPPF. Ask Brent what they are doing about this and whether there are other policies already in place relating to community facilities that you might use to defend the Queensbury.

Keep up the pressure. Make sure your local councillors, MP and planning department know that you haven’t given up, and try to keep the flow of objections going. Encourage campaign supporters to send a copy of their objection to their local councillor and MP.

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