The chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group was speaking during the Community and Local Government questions on the floor of the House of Commons yesterday.
The Cambridge policy will allow planning permission for a pub seeking change of use but only if it is put on the market for a year, is free of tie and has no restrictive covenant. The BBPA believes that this is too confining for pubs, whatever their type or size, including independent pubs.
“Will [the minister Nick Boles] join my condemnation and that of the All-Party Save the Pub Group of the extraordinary decision taken by the British Beer and Pub Association to seek to overturn Cambridge City Council’s elected policy for pubs, given that that is what the council wants to do and the people want it as well?” said Mulholland.
Boles replied: “If the policy of the city of Cambridge is properly arrived at as an expression of local feeling, I am sure that it will be able to defend it from any challenge from whatever quarter.”
Speaking after the event, Mulholland added: “The decision by the BBPA to pursue a judicial review into Cambridge City Council’s ground breaking pubs protection policy is both extraordinary but also disgraceful.
“The democratically elected Council have done exactly what ministers envisaged in the Localism Bill, which is to build on the National Planning Policy Framework and introduce local policies to suit local needs, in this case to give greater protection to pubs and to give local communities a say over their future.
“The BBPA are now prepared to spend thousands of pounds to defend the indefensible right of some of their members to continue to sell viable, wanted pubs and asset strip pubs without letting the community have a say, which is appalling. This stance is anti-pub, anti-small business and anti-community.”