MPs call for greater planning support for pubs in Parliamentary Debate
Today leading campaigning MPs including David Lammy MP (Labour, Tottenham) and Greg Mulholland MP (Liberal Democrat, Leeds North West) have spoken in a Parliamentary debate to urge the Government to close planning loopholes that are leading to the loss of pubs.
Loopholes in planning law mean even valued and viable community pubs can be demolished or converted to small supermarket stores, betting shops or pay-day loan stores without planning permission and behind the back of local communities, MPs argued. These issues have been raised time and time again by MPs and campaigners but the Government has failed to act.
David Lammy MP is particularly concerned about the proliferation of betting shops in London and throughout the country, a situation which is worsened by weak planning laws. He backed the important role of community pubs and argued that people "want a place where they can go and have a drink", commending CAMRA's campaign to extend planning protection for pubs.
Our high streets and town centres are more than centres of commerce, they are also centres of social cohesion and pubs are at the heart of this, argued Parliamentary Save the Pub Group Chair Greg Mulholland MP. He said that Government must not fall into the trap of arguing that further deregulation of planning law is the only way to support ailing high streets.
Mr Mulholland welcomed the National Planning Policy Framework and additional local planning policies put in place in areas such as Cambridge to back pubs, but argued that these measures don't go far enough while "absurd loopholes" remain. Greg finished by arguing that simple changes, which could be enacted via secondary legislation (so wouldn't need to take up Parliamentary time) would make all the difference for communities and would save many overnight.