Government to strengthen planning law for ACV-listed pubs

By James Wallin, M&C Report

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pubs Community pubs Town and country planning in the united kingdom Planning permission Kris hopkins Pub group

Pubs listed as ACVs will require planning permission for change of use or demolition
Pubs listed as ACVs will require planning permission for change of use or demolition
The Government has said it intends to introduce legislation meaning planning permission would be required to change the use of or demolish a pub listed as an asset of community value (ACV).

The pledge was announced in a written statement from community pubs minister Kris Hopkins just hours before MPs are due to vote on an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill which seeks to tighten planning protection for pubs even further.

New Clause 16, introduced by the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, would mean any application to convert a pub to retail or office use or demolish it, regardless of whether or not it has ACV status, would need planning permission.

So far more than 600 locals have already been listed as ACVs and have enhanced protection. People who list their local pubs are then given six months and the support they need to come together with a community bid to buy it should it be put up for sale.

The move would mark a partial victory for the CAMRA-led Pubs Matter​ campaign.

In his statement​, Hopkins said he wanted to “increase protections to prevent the loss of those pubs that provide the most community benefit” but said blanket legislation would “lead to more empty and boarded up buildings”.


He said: “National permitted development rights are an important part of the planning system; providing flexibility, reducing bureaucracy and allowing the best use to be made of existing buildings. However, the passion for community pubs as demonstrated by the significant numbers listed as Assets of Community Value highlights the need to enable local communities to consider planning applications for the change of use of a pub of particular local value.

“We therefore plan to bring forward secondary legislation at the earliest opportunity so that in England the listing of a pub as an Asset of Community Value will trigger a removal of the national permitted development rights for the change of use or demolition of those pubs that communities have identified as providing the most community benefit.


"This provides the right balance between protecting valued community pubs, but avoiding blanket regulation which would lead to more empty and boarded up buildings. Blanket regulation could also have adverse consequences on the asset value of pub buildings, harming the financial viability of the pub industry. This Government recognises the economic, environmental and social benefits of allowing redundant buildings to be converted into productive uses without excessive red tape.

“This will mean that in future where a pub is listed as an Asset of Community Value, a planning application will be required for the change of use or demolition of a pub. This then provides an opportunity for local people to comment, and enables the local planning authority to determine the application in accordance with its local plan, any neighbourhood plan, and national policy. The local planning authority may take the listing into account as a material consideration when determining any planning application.”

A tweet from campaigners suggested they would push ahead with the vote on New Clause 16

Save the Pub Group chair Greg Mulholland MP said the amendment would only help "a tiny fraction of the UK's pubs", and confirmed to the PMA​ he would be pushing ahead with a vote in Parliament tonight.

CAMRA response

Tim Page, CAMRA's chief executive, said: "Today's announcement that the Government intends to extend planning protection for pubs listed as Assets of Community Value may go some way towards delivering much-needed protection for a handful of community pubs. But with CAMRA's research indicating that two pubs are converted to supermarkets every week, the Government must go further and extend this protection to all pubs.

"With 29 pubs closing their doors for good every week, we urge MPs to get behind CAMRA's Pubs Matter​ campaign and support Charlotte Leslie MP's attempt to amend the Infrastructure Bill to close the planning loopholes that are leaving pubs vulnerable." 

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