The landmark means the Government must now provide a written response to the campaign, which claims that the existing planning system directly contributes to the closure of 31 pubs a week.
The Pubs Matter campaign calls for a simple change to the law in England to ensure that a planning application is always required before a pub is demolished or converted into another use.
As it stands, 89 MPs from all political parties have signed an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling for the Government to take action. The Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, which has labelled the situation “a scandal”, reckons there is a real chance of a law change before next year’s general election on 7 May.
CAMRA head of public affairs Jonathan Mail said the campaign was really gathering steam. “It is clear that CAMRA members, the general public and MPs share our view that it is ludicrous to be able to convert a pub into a supermarket, or demolish it altogether, without planning permission,” he said.
Several MPs have asked questions in Parliament on the issue, pressing community pubs minister Kris Hopkins to act. However, the minister insisted that protection for pubs already exists in the form of Article 4 Directions, which allow local councils to intervene in planning and restrict the scope of permitted development rights.
But CAMRA believes this approach is unworkable as councils do not have the resources to issue large numbers of these directions — and those who did so would be at risk of compensation claims.
Mail said: “Ministers are passing the buck to councils who simply don’t have the financial resources to issue the number of Article 4 Directions needed. About 40 local councils have joined us in saying the planning rules need to be changed nationally to better protect pubs.”
For more information visit the Pubs Matter campaign website.