Mulholland has also called on the Government to step in and close the loophole that allows a pub to be changed into a supermarket without having to go through the planning system
His call comes as the Campaign for Real Ale last week published new research showing that over 200 pubs across Britain have been converted into supermarket convenience stores since January 2010.
Mulholland said: “It is a scandal that viable and wanted pubs are being converted into supermarkets as a result of absurd loopholes in the planning system, which mean that pubs can be changed into supermarkets, betting shops and pay-day loan shops or even demolished without needing planning permission.
“This predatory purchasing is serious threat to the great British pub. It is clear that some supermarkets, Tesco in particular, are actively targeting pubs as a soft option to get small stores into communities, whether the community wants one or not and always with the loss of a community local. Worse still, there is also clearly some collusion between supermarkets and pub owning companies, with the latter being all too happy to sell pubs over the heads of communities."
The Save the Pub Group has also tabled a Parliamentary motion highlighting this issue.
Member of the Save the Pub Group, John Denham MP, said:“The Save The Pub group is right to stand up for communities feeling squeezed out by major supermarkets and big pub companies.
“The Castle, a pub in my own constituency in Southampton, is the latest in a line of pubs being sold by large pub company Enterprise Inns to the giant supermarket chain Tesco. We have seen other former community pubs being sold to the Co-op, Best-One and other convenience stores. CAMRA’s figures show that communities pubs are being lost to large retailers across the country.
“The Government needs to look closely at the cosy relationship between national retailers and large pub companies that so often leave local communities feeling left out in the cold.”
This is something that Save the Pub Group member John Denham MP recently raised in the House of Commons, highlighting cases in his Southampton constituency were pubcos have sold viable pubs to supermarkets over the heads of local people. The Save the Pub Group have also highlighted the clear collusion that is going on between indebted pubcos who are happy to offload pubs to the giant supermarkets as a quick way of paying off a little of their huge levels of debt, another reminder that the so-called pub companies are really property companies happy to close and sell viable pubs.
The Save the Pub Group have now also tabled a Parliamentary motion highlighting this issue. The Motion highlights CAMRA’s figures, calls on the Government to change the planning system to stop this and calls on councils to follow the example of Cambridge City Council and others to introduce local planning policies to protect pubs from unwanted and undemocratic conversions and demolitions.