The organisation has lodged papers in the High Court and notice is being served on the council. The policy will allow planning permission for a pub seeking a change of use but only if it is put on the market for a year, is free of tie and has no restrictive covenant.
The BBPA believes the policy is too confining for pub businesses, whatever their type or size, including independent pubs.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive at the BBPA, said: “We have decided to proceed with a judicial review. We haven’t taken this step lightly. We want to see thriving pubs, well used by local residents, but planning policies that are too restrictive can be detrimental to the pub trade as a whole.”
The association responded to the recent consultation by the council on its new policy in a letter, setting out its concerns and why it believes the policy is contrary to national planning guidance.
The BBPA argued that the recent provisions in the Localism Act give local authorities the right to put a pub on a register of community assets and grants a ‘community right to bid’ to buy that pub. It believes this provides local safeguards if there is a local demand to keep a particular premises open, which is something it supports.
Patsy Dell, head of planning at Cambridge City Council, responded to the BBPA’s legal action, saying the council will be defending the policy.
She said: “We are comfortable with what is in the policy and the requirements that it has. We will be looking at the argument the BBPA put forward. We think the policy is appropriate and necessary. We’ve only just got their paperwork so we are reviewing that situation but we will be defending the policy. It’s very important for the city.”
She added: “We’ve done intensive consultation on the policy and all comments are taken into account, but we obviously don’t think it’s too restrictive. We’re not intending to change it as it stands at the moment.”