CAMRA has submitted a report to London mayor Boris Johnson following the public consultation on the draft for further alterations to the London Plan (FALP), which closed on 10 April, and will be hosting a pub protection seminar.
In its report, CAMRA highlighted that London loses around 90 pubs every year because of what it says are loopholes in planning permission that allow pubs to change purpose without requiring planning consent. CAMRA said these clauses, which allow pubs to change into supermarkets, betting shops or cafes, have contributed to the closure of 28 pubs weekly across the country between April and September 2013, with leased and tenanted pubs accounting for 16 of those closures, according to figures from the latest CGA-CAMRA Pub Tracker.
In addition to some re-wording of the existing draft section 4.48A, which recognises the important role played by London’s pubs, CAMRA has asked the Mayor to consider three important measures:
- Removal of permitted development rights on all London pubs. This would result in any future change of use being subject to planning consent and therefore allowing Londoners a voice in the process
- The option for London Boroughs to refuse change of use on any pub that is registered as an asset of community value. Such examples include the Antwerp Arms in Tottenham and the Chesham Arms in Hackney
- The protection of pub use by planning condition on mixed use developments or partial residential conversions.
Geoff Strawbridge, CAMRA regional director, said: “While we welcome the added recognition of pubs within the draft further alterations to the London Plan, London property prices make pubs especially vulnerable to speculative purchase for alternative site uses. Given the vital and unique role that pubs play within our communities, the demolition or change of use of any pub should now be subject to planning controls”.
CAMRA will holding a pub protection seminar on 31 May for stakeholders including local planning authorities, councillors, community groups and Londoners with an interest in preserving the capital’s iconic pubs. The free event begins at noon at the Melton Mowbray on Holborn.