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Legislation

CAMRA calls for permanent measures to help pubs avoid closing

By Sara Hussein , 04-Jan-2017

CAMRA: the ACV process is 'fraught with difficulties'
CAMRA: the ACV process is 'fraught with difficulties'

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has called for permanent measures for pubs registered as assets of community value (ACV). 

The body is urging the Government to place pubs in a category of their own to ensure owners always have to seek planning permission before a pub is either demolished or converted into another venue.

This, in turn, will provide “permanent security” for locals campaigning to keep their pub open.

‘Fraught with difficulties’

CAMRA national chairman Colin Valentine said: “Unfortunately, the ACV process can be time-consuming, fraught with difficulties and, at the end of the day, is only a temporary measure.

“Listings must be renewed every five years to maintain protection. It simply doesn’t make sense that pub-goers have to jump through these extra hoops when it is clear that so many communities overwhelmingly want a say on the future of their much-loved pub.

“All we are asking for is a level playing field where a planning application on a pub has to go through the full planning process.”

This move comes after a total of 2,000 campaign groups listed their pubs as ACVs.

Valentine added: “It is heartening that so many communities across England have spent so much time going through the process of nominating their pub as an ACV.

“This shows a huge appetite for protecting pubs, which are more than just businesses — they are invaluable landmarks in our communities.”

The ACV status was introduced in May 2015 and is aimed at pubs that have a strong community focus.

It gives them protection from being demolished or converted overnight without public consultation.

‘Targeted by supermarkets’

Last month the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group put forward an amendment to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill , where planning permission would be required to demolish pubs or convert them into other venues.

Group chair Greg Mulholland MP said that, under the current legislation, pubs were being “targeted by supermarkets” and deserved “better protection in the planning system”.

Vice-chair Caroline Lucas MP also supported the campaign saying: “The current rules are biased against pubs — and make it far too easy for these vital community assets to be replaced by supermarkets.”

Meanwhile British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds urged MPs not to support the proposal.

She said it would “add costs and red tape for the sector” if a pub was considered to be “no longer viable”. 

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