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Lewisham councillor calls for London Mayor to introduce pub protection policy

By Gurjit Degun , 14-Feb-2013
Last updated on 14-Feb-2013 at 09:47 GMT2013-02-14T09:47:33Z

The Catford Tavern: it was saved from closure

The Catford Tavern: it was saved from closure

The chairman of a Lewisham Council committee that introduced a planning policy to protect pubs is urging the Mayor of London to introduce something similar to preserve all outlets across the capital.

It comes as the south-east London council’s sustainable development select committee’s recommendations were accepted by the Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock.

The policy includes showing that a pub has been marketed for three years before change of use will be allowed; and including available spaces in pubs on the council’s register of community venues for hire.

Councillor Liam Curran, chairman of the committee, said: “In Lewisham we have suffered the loss of many pubs. Half have disappeared in the past 20 years.

“We looked into it and needed a series of recommendations, which we presented to the Mayor.

“The Catford Bridge Tavern was a closed pub but when Antic London took it over, it was really popular. But then the freeholder wanted to turn it into a Tesco. It was a prominent and fine pub and we were able to stop it [using temporary powers].

“With the greater planning policy in place, the council has more weapons in its armoury to prevent change of use. For pubs in London, this is a useful blueprint for other boroughs to adopt.

“The London Mayor [Boris Johnson] is reviewing the over-arching planning policy for London, so I call on him to amend the London plan to enable local authorities to protect pubs. We are at a tipping point. It will be too late if the Mayor does not act now. It takes time, which is one thing we do not have.”

For further protection of pubs, Curran is also calling on the Mayor of Lewisham to make all pubs in the borough listed buildings.

“Some people think that if a pub is not listed, it is not valuable, but you can ‘locally list’ buildings,” said Curran.

“I’m also urging the Mayor to put all pubs in Lewisham on the local list. Most of the pubs under threat are handsome buildings. They are too important to let go.”

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