Community meeting highlights importance of Sustainable Communities Act
CAMRA's campaign to urge Councils to put forward motions under the Sustainable Communities Act to protect pubs was discussed at a packed out public meeting in Ealing; the first Council in London to pass a motion to protect valued local pubs.
Speakers included Councillor Ranjit Dheer of Ealing Borough Council, CAMRA's Pubs Preservation Officer for East London & City James Watson, Nic Ferriday [Friends of the Earth campaigner] and Steve Shaw [Local Works National Coordinator].
James Watson, Pubs Preservation Officer for East London & City CAMRA spoke of the "Great British Pub Scandal" which is forcing pubs around the country into vulnerable situations.
He said: "The demise of the great British pub has moved up the political agenda, but still faces huge problems. With 2 pubs being converted into supermarkets every week, more must be done to give communities the power to say what happens to the future of their local pubs".
"Legal loopholes in the planning system mean that pubs can be converted into supermarkets or betting shops without the need for planning permission. This means that our local pubs can be converted into yet another supermarket without local people having their say".
The local campaigner who fought to get the Chesham Arms listed as an Asset of Community Value spoke of how his local pub was closed without community consultation.
This is why CAMRA is calling on Councils to support pubs by backing the closure of these national planning loopholes. We want Councils to put forward proposals to Government for reform of the planning system under the Sustainable Communities Act.
Cllr. Dheer echoed CAMRA's campaign to save our locals from conversion and said:
"Pubs which provide a place for responsible drinkers are important individual landmarks for society. It should be local people and local authorities who are given the power to decide what happens to their community and the Sustainable Communities Act is one great potential that can bring communities together".
Steve Shaw, National Coordinator concluded by urging more people to get involved and submit motions under the Sustainable Communities Act on issues they are passionate about.
He said: "There is a pressing need for the sustainable communities act, and it has given community groups a voice to speak out about issues they want to change. Power should come from local people, and the SCA is a way in which local people can put forward ideas to help the problem of community decline".
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