Government urged to do more to protect community pubs

The government is being urged to do more to help stop pubs from being demolished or closed.

Thursday, 5th January 2017, 6:13 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:49 pm
Camra is stepping up its campaign to save local pubs

The Campaign for Real Ale has stepped up its pressure on ministers to put pubs into a special class so that owners must always seek planning permission for a change of use or demolition.

A total of 2,000 pubs have now been listed as an asset of community value (ACV), but Camra says local groups had to spend hours in a ‘lengthy and clunky’ process to save their local. ACVs can be granted on a building with a proven value to a local community, such as a library or post office, but pubs have had the biggest take-up since legislation was introduced last year.

Paul Saynor, landlord of The Rose in June, in Copnor, backed Camra’s efforts.

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He said: ‘Camra has had a re-look at its main aims and one of them is to back the local community and ensure the pubs remain open.

‘The ACVs are one of the ways that would be useful, as long as of course, the will of the people is there. If it’s made easier for them to take on a pub, then that’s good.’

Camra chairman Colin Valentine said: ‘It is heartening that so many communities across England have spent so much time going through the process of nominating their pub as an Asset of Community Value.

‘This shows a huge appetite for protecting pubs, which are more than just businesses –they are invaluable landmarks in our communities.

‘Unfortunately, the ACV process can be time-consuming, fraught with difficulties and at the end of the day is only a temporary measure – listings must be renewed every five years to maintain protection.

‘It simply doesn’t make sense that pub-goers have to jump through these extra hoops when it is clear that so many communities overwhelmingly want a say on the future of their much-loved pub. All we are asking for is a level playing field where a planning application on a pub has to go through the full planning process.’

Residents who value their locals have the opportunity to apply to put them on an ACV register, which stops developers converting them into shops or flats without seeking planning approval.

The law currently states that pubs not on the list can be turned into shops without the need for permission – as has been the case with many locals in the Portsmouth area.

The future of a number of former pub sites remain uncertain, including The former Cabman’s Rest, in Somers Town, which remains empty after a plan to convert it into a 11-bed home was kicked out.