Governments urged to use toughen up protection for pubs
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CAMRA is marking the six-month anniversary of the demolition of the Crooked House pub in Himley, Staffordshire by calling on government ministers to commit to extra protection for pubs to avoid them being illegally converted or demolished.
The Campaign, which last week met with Levelling Up minister Lee Rowley to discuss protecting the nation’s pubs, wants more enforcement powers for councils in England to stop pubs being illegally changed or destroyed including the ability to force them to be rebuilt.
In England, changing the use of a pub or demolishing one requires planning permission, but figures compiled by CAMRA showed that last year up to a third of closures and demolitions may be happening without it.
The Campaign is also calling for similar protections for pubs in Wales and the removal of loopholes in Scotland to prevent pubs being demolished without planning permission.
CAMRA also produces a range of pub-saving guides offering advice for individuals and community groups looking to save their pub from conversion or demolition and is working with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Mayor Andy Street to list heritage pubs in that region to offer them better protections.
CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona said: “Six months on, this national scandal rightly still angers people. Our pubs are at the heart of community life across the UK and must be protected as a vital part of our social fabric.
“People deserve to have a chance, through the planning system, to save their pub from demolition or conversion to another use. Where this is done illegally, it is vital that local authorities have the powers and resources to force buildings back into use as pubs – or for them to be rebuilt if they have been knocked down.
“That’s why on this anniversary we are renewing calls for governments in Westminster, Cardiff and Edinburgh to commit to improving planning protection laws and to make sure local authority planning departments are equipped to stop pubs being illegally converted or demolished. Otherwise, we risk seeing more beloved locals across the UK being illegally taken away from the communities they serve.”
You can find CAMRA’s Saving Your Local Pub guides, plus more resources and contacts for advice here: https://camra.org.uk/take-action/save-your-local-pub/