London Mayor promotes planning safeguards for pubs

By Claire Churchard

- Last updated on GMT

Halt the closures: shut down pub the Grove in south-east London
Halt the closures: shut down pub the Grove in south-east London

Related tags Pubs London borough

Extra support for the dwindling number of pubs in the capital will be included in the draft London Plan due to be published by Mayor Sadiq Khan this week.

As part of the capital’s overarching planning strategy the Mayor will encourage London borough councils to back proposals for new pubs to be built in “appropriate locations” to stimulate town-centre regeneration. The plan will also urge London boroughs to fight proposals to redevelop areas “directly connected to public houses”, which include beer gardens, function rooms or publican accommodation, so the pub premises can “retain their appeal to local people and visitors and remain viable businesses”.

Influence of pubs on London area names

Five tube stations are named after pubs - Swiss Cottage, Royal Oak, Manor House, Angel and Elephant & Castle

Maida Vale is named after the Heroes of Maida pub

Fitzrovia is named after the Fitzroy Tavern and White Hart Lane in Tottenham is named after a pub

According to folk law Pimlico is named after Ben Pimlico, a publican “famous for his nut brown ale” 

Agent of Change

The agent-of-change principle will be written into the Mayor’s draft plan, which means that residential developers building new properties near pubs and other live-music venues will be required to ensure their homes are soundproofed. This means that pubs will not be forced to cover the cost of soundproofing new houses built near them. Under the plan, Boroughs will have to refuse proposals from developers that do not demonstrate how they will manage the impact of noise.

These measures are designed to slow, and even stop, the large number of pubs closures in the capital, which has lost an average of 81 pubs a year since 2001 according to data from inter-departmental business register (IDBR) and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Push back

While the Mayor’s plans are not legislation that Boroughs are required to follow to, London councils usually base their own local planning policies on it, a spokesman for the Mayor told the MA.

He added: “It’s not legislation, it’s strong advice. It gives London Boroughs a steer on what the Mayor wants to see and helps them push back on developers’ applications. They can say ‘this is the Mayor’s advice and we’re sticking to it’.”  

Hardest hit Boroughs 

Two boroughs have lost more than half of their pubs, with Barking and Dagenham losing 56% since 2001 and Newham losing 52% cent. Other badly affected boroughs include Croydon (45%), Waltham Forest (44%), Hounslow (42%) and Lewisham (41%).

Khan, said: “Pubs across the capital are often at the heart of our communities or of historic value and should be protected by local authorities in order to protect the capital’s unique character. From historic watering holes to new pop-up breweries, nothing defines the diverse and historic character of the capital better than the great British pub.

Protection from redevelopment

He said: “That’s why I’ve set out measures in my draft London Plan to protect pubs against redevelopment, ensure they can co-exist peacefully with nearby residential properties and ensure that councils across the capital recognise their importance to the city’s cultural fabric.”

CAMRA’s north London branch chair John Cryne said: “CAMRA fully welcomes the Mayor’s initiative and we are pleased to get to a stage where pubs are valued in such an important planning policy. I just hope that local London boroughs take note and act accordingly to preserve what are left of London’s valuable public houses.”

Related topics Property law

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