Bromley pub the Porcupine saved from conversion into Lidl

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Public house Bob neill

The Planning Inspectorate said Enterprise Inns failed to carry out an “open marketing exercise”
The Planning Inspectorate said Enterprise Inns failed to carry out an “open marketing exercise”
A much-loved Bromley pub has been saved from conversion after the Planning Inspectorate dismissed an appeal by Lidl against the local council’s decision to refuse planning permission.

The Planning Inspectorate said there was no evidence that Enterprise Inns carried out an “open marketing exercise” when it sold the Porcupine on Mottingham Road, London, to the supermarket chain last year.

It said this means the pubco had not “ruled out” the potential reopening of the pub, adding that planning permission is not granted for proposals that would lead to the loss of community facilities “unless it can be demonstrated that there is no longer a need for them”.

It said while there are other pubs in the wider area, none are located “in the local centre” and so cannot be considered acceptable alternatives.

Lidl had appealed the decision made by Bromley Borough Council in March 2014.

'Victory for common sense'

David Morgan, of Morgan & Clarke chartered surveyors, who acted for the council, warned that the retention of the property as a public house might still be in danger.

He added: “It is a victory both for common sense and the concerted local campaign headed by MP Bob Neill to retain this high profile community asset. Although the Planning Inspector placed emphasis on highway issues, he was explicit in the crossover between community uses for pubs and retail.

“I am not sure how the Inspector’s decision sits comfortably with the National Planning Policy Framework for the retention of public houses as community assets.  On my last visit to a Lidl (Cirencester), I can’t remember there being any pub sports going on in the corner, or people having a quiet pint and putting the world to rights”.  

'Important decision'

Former community pubs minister and local MP Bob Neill, who has been campaigning to save the Porcupine, welcomed the news.

Neill secured an agreement from Lidl in June 2013 for the chain to submit a full planning application covering both demolition and redevelopment, in order to withdraw the immediate threat of closure.

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