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Kensington and Chelsea council to present pub protection plan to Government

By Gurjit Degun , 22-Nov-2012
Last updated on 22-Nov-2012 at 10:33 GMT2012-11-22T10:33:28Z

Pubs for sale: councils want to resist losing pubs

Pubs for sale: councils want to resist losing pubs

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) is set to present its proposed planning policy to protect pubs to the Government next month, with a view to introducing it next year.

The policy looks to resist change of use to any building that “contributes to the character of the surrounding area” and “resist the loss of public houses and drinking establishments throughout the borough”.

The council explained that since 1980 there has been a 35% decline in the number of pubs in Kensington and Chelsea from 168 to 110 today and “this trend appears set to continue”.

A statement from RBKC said: “Next month we will submit this proposed planning policy to the Secretary of State (for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles) who has the final say on whether the policy can come into force.

“If given the green light the Council hopes to introduce these new powers towards the middle of 2013.”

It follows Cambridge City Council’s introduction of an Interim Planning Policy Guidance saying that developers will need to justify proposals for change of use, conversion or redevelopment of pubs. The British Beer & Pub Association, however, has questioned its legality .

The Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) campaigns officer Claire Cain said: “CAMRA is urging councils to follow in Kensington and Chelsea’s footsteps and recognise that the last line of defence in protecting the loss of pubs lies with strong local plans that support pubs and prevent closures.

“Councils have a golden opportunity to adopt the pro-pub policies within the national planning policy framework into their local plans. They should also ensure that rigorous viability tests are carried out to determine the economic potential of a pub before being considered for redevelopment.”