Retailers give pledge to protect English pubs

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PUB companies, supermarket chains and developers have promised to protect English pubs in the planning system following a call for support from the All Party Parliamentary Pubs Group and the Campaign for Real Ale.

Following legislation that will see all English pubs protected under the planning system as of July, the All Party Group and CAMRA issued a joint letter calling for industry bodies to respect the spirit of the legislation before it comes into force.

So far nine companies, including Punch Taverns, Heineken, Marstons, Greene King, EI Group, Admiral Taverns, Sainsburys, Aldi and the Co-op, have agreed to the proposals, which mean that they will seek planning permission for any planned conversion or demolition of a pub site from now on, rather than waiting until the law obligates them to do so in July.

Currently, pubs can be converted into a number of uses or demolished altogether without permission being sought through a planning application. This has left pubs across England vulnerable to developers, contributing to pub closures of 21 per week. The new legislation will introduce a full and transparent planning application process for any intention to convert or demolish pubs in the future.

Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s national chairman, said: ‘This act of good practice will bring confidence to pub-goers and pub campaigners who have fought tirelessly for these protections. This shows a real enthusiasm and willingness to work with pub campaigners and is certainly welcome news to customers who enjoy England’s 48,000 pubs.’