We need to do more to safeguard the future of our pubs – Camra

Paul Saynor, the landlord of the Rose In June pub in Milton
Paul Saynor, the landlord of the Rose In June pub in Milton
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Publicans have welcomed a report calling for councils to do more to support locals.

A dossier produced by the Local Government Information Unit sets out a list of recommendations for councils in the hope they will protect boozers against unfair development.

It says authorities should consider using a measure called an ‘Article 4’ direction to stop people redeveloping a pub without planning permission.

The Public Houses: How Councils and Communities Can Save Pubs report, commissioned by the Campaign for Real Ale, says it is important that pubs are put on a council’s list of ‘community value’.

This would ensure a community has the chance to buy a pub if it comes on the market before a company.

Last week, after years of campaigning, the Fox & Hounds in Denmead was taken over by a community co-operative. It marked the end of a battle to stop developers demolishing it and building four luxury homes in its place.

The report suggests planning inspectors may be swayed to save a pub if it is emphasised that the building enhances the character and heritage of an area.

Paul Saynor, Camra member and landlord of The Rose in June in Copnor, said: ‘The council needs to be looking at an area and what the community would lose if a pub closed.

‘The council perhaps needs someone who will offer advice to groups around the area and send a letter out saying “do you want to save this pub, and this is what we can offer in terms of advice”.’

Stuart Ainsworth, landlord of The Leopold Tavern, in Southsea, supported the report.

‘We’ve got to protect pubs,’ he said. ‘When we do lose them, they’re being snapped up by the supermarkets, rather than being bid for on the open market.’

Lib Dem councillors Darren Sanders and Will Purvis called for local pubs to be put on their community assets register before it was introduced by the government in October 2012.

Cllr Sanders said: ‘In certain areas the retention of pubs is important. This is something I would want the administration to explore.’

Tom Stainer, of Camra, said: ‘Camra is grateful to the trailblazing councils who are leading the way in pub protection but, it is still too few. We want all councils to follow suit and we hope the ideas in this report provide a useful starting point.’

In recent years, the Southern Co-operative has turned pubs like The White Hart, in White Hart Lane, Portchester, and The Oakwood, in Northern Parade, Hilsea, Portsmouth, into shops without needing approval.