HELP SAVE OUR PUBS
Thanks largely to CAMRA’s sustained efforts in promoting it over the last 40 plus years, there is a huge range of real ale available these days. We have nine breweries within the SW London Branch area but what matters now is keeping our pubs open. Across the country, every day sees four more of them closing and, with ever fewer pubs, the future of cask beer remains under threat.
Whatever our drinking preferences, we must all keep drinking in our local pubs if we expect them to survive.
However, the underlying reason we lose so many pubs in London is not so much that people no longer drink in them but that, with such high residential property prices, pub sites can be worth so much more to their owners in uses other than as pubs.
The Greater London branches of CAMRA have adopted a pub protection strategy, the policy objectives of which are:
- to safeguard continuing pub use on established sites in planning use class terms;
- to bring demolition and all changes of use of pubs within planning controls.
All three of our boroughs: Lambeth, Merton and Wandsworth have pub protection policies in their strategic plans but these policies can be applied only when planning applications are required.
LAMBETH (SW postcodes only)
(SE postcodes belong to SE London Branch)
Policy ED8 Public Houses is on page 65 of the adopted Lambeth Local Plan.
Policy DM R5 Food and drink / leisure and entertainment uses is on pages 27-31 of the adopted Merton Sites and Policies Plan 2014. See particularly section (g) and paragraphs 1.83 to 1.86 of the justification.
Prior to 2015, for most pubs, permitted development rights allowed conversion of 'drinking establishments' (Use Class A4) to any of classes A1 (retail), A2 (professional and financial services), A3 (café/restaurant) or B1 (offices, though change of use was limited to two years) without a planning application having to be submitted. Alternatively, unless the pub had a heritage listing or belonged to a conservation area, an owner could simply demolish it after notifying the intention to do so.
Since April 2015, however, the nomination of any pub (A4 drinking establishment) as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) under the 2011 Localism Act has had the effect of removing permitted development rights or the ability to demolish without consultation. So for a pub that is registered as an ACV already, or potentially (decision pending), any proposal to change it into something else or to knock it down depends upon the Council’s decision on a planning application. The application will trigger consultation and the decision will also take account of the pub protection policy. Each of our three boroughs provides an ACV nomination form on its website [Lambeth | Merton | Wandsworth] .
Further protection was provided by a Statutory Instrument (SI 619/2017) made under the provisions of the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017. In effect this removed the permitted development rights mentioned above in respect of all pubs, irrespective of whether or not they had been listed as an ACV. This Statutory Instrument took effect on 23 May 2017, and means that planning permission is required before any pub can be demolished or changed into anything else. This gives power back to the community over what happens to their much-loved pubs, and allows members of the community to have their say through their council's planning process.
The Mayor of London's Consilidated London Plan published in March 2016 includes on page 166, Policy Item 4.48A
The Mayor recognises the important role that London’s public houses can play in the social fabric of communities (see also Policy 3.1B) and recent research(1) highlights the rapid rate of closures over the past decade and the factors behind these.
To address these concerns, where there is sufficient evidence of need, community asset value(2) and viability in pub use, boroughs are encouraged to bring forward policies to retain, manage and enhance public houses(3).
(1) (Steve O’Connell A.M. Keeping Local. How to save London’s Pubs as community resources. London Assembly Conservative Group, GLA 2013 | CAMRA. Greater London Region / Capital Pubcheck, 2012).
(2) (including an asset listed as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act 2011 or where an application has been made).
(3) (see also Mayor of London, Town Centres Supplementary Planning Guidance, GLA 2014).
Contact CAMRA South West London Pubs Protection Officer Rex Ward, email@example.com.