A SMALL victory has been won in the campaign to stop pubs being turned into shops without the need for any permission.
The Co-operative has become the first major retailer to commit to protecting local boozers by coming up with a set of principles pledging not to convert any without first gaining approval of councils – and leaving those well valued by communities alone.
While the strategy does not cover sites where the Co-op already has existing legal arrangements, it applies to any new deals with developers and property owners entered into from this month on.
The Co-op has stated in its strategy to:
n Only develop pub sites using the planning permission process rather than relying on permitted development rights.
n Seek to encourage developers to use the planning permission process rather than relying on permitted development rights to convert pubs into alternative uses.
n Individually assess each pub that is regarded as a development opportunity to determine the value it has on the community
n Make information public as soon as is possible about sites where it is the developer and encourage developers to do the same.
n Not stand in the way of a any group seeking to acquire and run a community pub.
n Develop land adjacent to an existing pub in a way that enhances the viability of both a new store and the existing pub.
Tim Page, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: ‘We’re delighted that such a well-known retailer like the Co-op has demonstrated its commitment to communities.’