PEOPLE power has saved a pub from closure in a victory that gives hope to campaigners who want to rescue their locals from the threat of bulldozers.
Regulars at the Crows Nest in Cowplain, Waterlooville, pictured on the front page, convinced councillors to throw out an application to build four bungalows on the site of their beloved local.
Planning permission had already been given for three properties on the car park but the planning committee at Havant Borough Council rejected the further application, which would have seen the pub demolished.
One of the reasons given was a Havant council policy that says owners have to prove they had tried and failed to make the pub work as a going concern.
The move has given hope to pub campaigners who say other councils should adopt a similar policy to protect pubs from developers who buy them in the hope of selling the land for homes.
It comes as The News today launches a Love Your Local campaign to celebrate all that is great about local pubs.
Iain Loe, research and information manager for Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale group which protects pubs and drinkers’ rights, said: ‘We think it’s an excellent practice, an excellent idea that other councils should use.
‘It is certainly something we would like to see other councils adopt.
‘There are a few around the country I’ve seen which have this protection clause in their local plan, such as Huntingdonshire and East Cambridge. It’s recognition of an important community asset and it shows that pubs are important.
‘Sometimes it is in local plans but not mentioned specifically.
‘I think there is a need to spell things out. Councils need to make it clear so people don’t dodge round it.’
It is not yet known whether a developer could successfully appeal against a rejection on that basis because there has been no test case of a policy similar to that in place in Havant.
The Crows Nest is one of a growing number of pubs that are finding themselves under threat of development after being taken over by property firms.
The Wymering, in Wymering, has been snapped up by Bacchus, a Knightsbridge based property investment firm. It wants to knock down the pub and replace it with a two-storey apartment building which will contain 15 flats.
The same firm has also bought the Travellers’ Joy, in Milton Road, Milton, which it hopes to demolish and replace with a three-storey building containing a vets’ practice and flats. As reported in The News, regulars there are campaigning to save the pub.
Havant Borough Council’s policy allows councillors to take into consideration the pub as a local amenity and decide whether the owner has done enough to market it as a business rather than a development opportunity.
The only other council in the area to have such a clause is East Hampshire District Council, although there are strict licensing laws controlling the change of use of a building.
Havant council also decided the plans for the Crows Nest were an over-intensive development, and out of character with the surrounding area.
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