Major retailers pledge to protect English pubs
Pub companies, supermarket chains and developers have promised to protect English pubs in the planning system following a call for support from the All Party Parliamentary Pubs Group and the Campaign for Real Ale.
Following legislation that will see all English pubs protected under the planning system as of July, the All Party Group and CAMRA issued a joint letter calling for industry bodies to respect the spirit of the legislation before it comes into force.
So far nine companies, including Punch Taverns, Heineken, Marstons, Greene King, EI Group, Admiral Taverns, Sainsburys, Aldi and the Co-op have agreed to the proposals, which mean that they will seek planning permission for any planned conversion or demolition of a pub site from now on, rather than waiting until the law obligates them to do so in July.
Currently, pubs can be converted into a number of uses or demolished altogether without permission being sought through a planning application. This has left pubs across England vulnerable to developers, contributing to pub closures of 21 per week. The new legislation will introduce a full and transparent planning application process for any intention to convert or demolish pubs in the future.
Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman says: “This act of good practice will bring confidence to pub-goers and pub campaigners who have fought tirelessly for these essential protections. I think this shows a real enthusiasm and willingness to work with pub campaigners across the country and is certainly welcome news to customers who enjoy England’s 48,000 pubs.”
Toby Perkins, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Pubs Group says: “The legislation victory the opposition won was welcomed across the pub sector, but many people feared we would see a raft of closures and demolitions in advance of it becoming law. I really welcome these nine firms committing to act in accordance with the legislation, in advance of it becoming law, and call on the whole industry to do the same.”