Greg Mulholland urges Government to close "loophole" over pub change of use

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: All-party parliamentary save, Pub group, Demolition, Government

Greg Mulholland urges Government to close "loophole" over pub change of use
Pro-pubs MP Greg Mulholland has called on the Government to ensure that planning permission is required for any change of use or demolition of pubs.

During the department for communities and local government questions on the floor of the House, Mulholland said this was needed to “save thousands from development or demolition by unscrupulous owners and developers”.

The chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group asked the Government to “close the unacceptable loophole” that allows developers to convert a pub into a shop, betting shop or restaurant without planning permission. It is also possible to for a pub to be demolished without the need for planning permission.

Mulholland said: “It is a national scandal that profitable and wanted pubs are being closed or demolished by unscrupulous developers, pub companies and supermarket chains as a result of absurd loopholes in the planning system.

“The Government’s warm words on pubs seem increasingly hollow and they currently don’t seem to understand or care that profitable businesses and community hubs are being taken away unnecessarily, without the local community or indeed the small business having a say.

“This is clearly at odds with claims of localism and community empowerment and certainly not what the ‘Big Society’ is supposed to be about. So it is time for simple changes to planning law that could, at a stroke, give people a say over the future of their local when currently they often have none. A failure to do this by 2015 would lay bare the claim that this is a ‘pub friendly Government.”

Jonathan Mail, head of public affairs at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said: “The market is being distorted by out-of-date planning rules that reflect a view that pubs are less desirable than a betting shop.

“On demolition, the Government need to make it much easier for councils to use article four directions to withdraw the right of developers to demolish freestanding pubs overnight and we will be working to make sure this happens.”

“CAMRA will be campaigning alongside the Save the Pub Group to deliver a new planning system which properly respects the huge social and economic importance of pubs.”

Related topics: Legislation

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