Pub campaigners key in forcing planning changes

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

The Save the Chesham group campaigned for the protection for more than two years
The Save the Chesham group campaigned for the protection for more than two years

Related tags Local government

The strength of campaigning by local residents was a key factor in the decision to issue two pubs with ‘article 4 directions’, according to the local authorities involved.

Last week, the Chesham Arms in Hackney, east London, and the Wellington in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, were issued with immediate article 4 directions, which remove permitted development rights — meaning the pubs cannot be changed to a different use without planning permission.

It is believed there are now 32 pubs in England with this form of protection.

A spokesman for Chesterfield Borough Council said a residents’ petition was a key factor in the decision to protect the Wellington, which was one of the 202 sites Marston’s sold to New River Retail in November 2013. It was also listed as an asset of community value last week.

Community support

Councillor Terry Gilby of Chesterfield Borough Council said: “The fact residents in New Whittington presented a petition with more than 1,800 signatures to the council, shows clearly how much support the Wellington has in the community.”

The Chesham Arms, which has been closed since October 2012, was issued with an article 4 following more than two years of campaigning from locals. The owner of the property Mukund Patel has converted part of the upper floor into a flat and is currently using the ground floor as an office. However, this temporary use has only been granted until March 2016, meaning after this point, the building could be converted back into a pub.

Councillor Guy Nicholson of Hackney Borough Council said: “This is great news for the community and the Save the Chesham campaign group. With the article 4 direction, we are helping to ensure this valued local landmark remains an asset for future generations.”

'It feels like a loophole'

Martyn Williams, of the Save the Chesham campaign, urged more pub protection campaigners to lobby their local councils to issue article 4 directions.

“As more and more A4Ds are passed, the easier it will become for councils to issue them,” he said. “Planning policy is supposed to be there to allow people to have a voice. It feels like a loophole, allowing developers to change use while stopping communities having a say.”

Related topics Property law

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