MPs discuss the closure of The Porcupine pub in House of Commons
On the 21st May, MPs gathered in the House of Commons to discuss the impending conversion of the Porcupine Pub in Mottingham to a Lidl store.
Local MP and former Community Pubs Minister, Bob Neill called Lidl's purchase of the Porcupine from Enterprise Inns "a shabby and underhand attempt to close this public house, against the wishes of the local community."
"The porcupine is a seemingly harmless animal until provoked', warned Bob.
"My message to anyone with a pub owned by Enterprise Inns in their community is that they should get it listed as an asset of community value now, because they cannot trust Enterprise Inns not to sell it from under them without telling them."
Current Community Pubs Minister Brandon Lewis encouraged people who care about pubs to get on board with CAMRA's List Your Local campaign. ‘It is important that communities who value their pub to list their local. Get them listed as a community asset. CAMRA is running a fantastic campaign on this and I would encourage people to look at their website which gives a very clear and simple outline on how to list a pub. It's good news to hear that the people of Mottingham are going down that road... I'm delighted to see them go down that road while there is still a building there to protect."
However, Lewis could not confirm if current planning law loopholes were to be tightened up any time soon. Greg Mulholland MP, chair of the All Part Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, challenged this, arguing that cutting local communities out of decision making planning processes was ‘not in the interests of localism.'
Brandon Lewis MP outlined the procedure of article 4 directions and noted that listing pubs as asserts of community value was a light touch and effective tactic.
"The Government is very clear that localism should be at the heart of planning", he said.
Watch yesterday's parliamentary discussion here.