Brigid Simmonds has written to Brandon Lewis urging the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to finally acknowledge the value of pubs and include them in proposals to breathe life into the high street.
Simmonds said she was “confident” the importance of pubs would now be recognised given that Lewis still holds the role of community pubs minister.
"So far the work’s that’s been done with DCLG has not included representatives from us,” Simmonds told the PMA. “I volunteered it at an early stage and it hadn’t been taken forward."
Report on town centres
Her comments follow a report published last week which revealed the importance of community-led initiatives in reviving the fortunes of town centres.
The Association of Town and City Management’s High Street Renewal Award 2013 showcased the work of seven towns benefitting from the Government’s million pound High Street Renewal Award.
New markets, shop openings and lower parking charges were highlighted in the publication - but pubs were not mentioned.
"It’s their [the Government’s] loss that pubs haven’t been included but they’re such an important part of it," Simmonds said. “The night time economy has to be an important part of the regeneration of the high street.
"All past experience would that show where you don’t have a decent night time economy… [people] become frightened to walk [around] and the vitality goes out of the high streets."
She added that she hoped the minister’s "influence" would guarantee the inclusion of pubs in the future. "Brandon knows the value of the pubs. Let’s make sure we get some more joined up thinking - pubs and leisure in the high street are part of the mix."
Lewis was handed additional responsibility for high streets and town centres in a reshuffle of ministerial duties at the Department for Communities and Local Government earlier this month.