The “London Plan”, set to be approved by the London Assembly today, encourages boroughs to develop policies to “protect” as well as “retain, manage and enhance” pubs, where there is sufficient evidence of need, community asset value and viability in pub use.
The policy also outlines that developments that would involve the loss of community services, including pubs, without adequate justification or provision for replacement should be resisted.
The changes follow the publication of “Keeping Local: How to save London’s pubs as community resources”, a report cited in the plan that shows London has lost more than 400 pubs between 2003 and 2012.
Report author Steve O’Connell, who is also GLA Conservatives planning spokesman, welcomed the Mayor’s commitment to help boroughs protect pubs but said local authorities should also conduct market testing of empty pub sites.
“Now London boroughs must take forward these protections into their own local plans, and introduce rigorous market testing and viability tests before any development on pub sites can be considered,” he said.
“Developers should be demonstrating that they’ve marketed the site for a reasonable amount of time before planning permission can be considered, the pub has been vacant for at least two years, and that any new development does not detrimentally affect the character of the street.”