New research shows that pubs are closing at a rapid rate of 28 a week, but councils must play a vital role in protecting the community pub.
CAMRA and think tank LGiU have released a report calling on councils to take action to save the Great British pub.
Pubs play a crucial role in bringing together local communities. The research shows that 45 out of 49 local authorities consider pubs valued community amenities, worthy of protection.
But new research confirms the alarming rate of closures with 1,300 a year closing.
However, councillors and local authority officers have the power to stand up for their community, enabling them to shape the neighbourhoods they live in.
Based on interviews, in-depth case studies and a survey of local authorities across the country, the report highlights a number of ways in which local authorities can protect these treasured community assets:
Include pubs in planning policy
- Councils should take advantage of theNational Planning Policy Framework, which can give specific protection to pubs as community assets.
- The Government must also listen to the concerns of local government and act to close existing loopholes – 33 of the 49 local authorities surveyed felt that existing planning regulations do not give sufficient protection to public houses from change of use or demolition.
Remove permitted development rights
- Councils should consider removing permitted development rights. This would ensure that developers must seek planning permission first. Many councils, including Babergh District Council, London Borough of Lewisham, and Cambridge City Council, have successfully used Article 4 directions to achieve this.
Encourage the community to take action
- Councils should support communities who want to list their local pub as an Asset of Community Value. This means that communities must be alerted when a building is planned for redevelopment.
Protect pubs through heritage and conservation listing
- Pubs can be designated in conservation areas, local lists or as heritage sites, which can influence planning decisions.
Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGiU, said:
“Pubs play a vital role in many communities. But across the country, this precious resource is being lost at an alarming rate. Councils play a crucial part in protecting pubs and we hope that local authorities will draw inspiration from the examples featured in this report and act now to prevent our pubs from disappearing forever.”
Tom Stainer, Head of Communications at 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.
“Pub closures are not as simple as a badly run business or a changing marketplace, there are many external factors and pressures which have a bearing on pub survival.
“Weak planning laws are a major contributing factor to pubs closing and central Government need to give councils greater powers so they can do more to protect pubs from developers.
“At the moment Ministers are letting down communities by allowing pubs to be demolished or converted to a whole range of retail uses without any planning permission being required.”
For press enquiries, please contact Lizzie Greenhalgh at LGiU on 07771 374 602 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The full report is available here: lgiu.org/public-houses
The research was carried out by LGiU and the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group in partnership with CAMRA.