MPs join pub protection calls

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Government proposal: the High Street Rental Auction scheme would permit councils to auction the rental rights of commercial high street properties vacant for more than 12 months in a 24 month period  (image: Getty/Marilyn Nieves)
Government proposal: the High Street Rental Auction scheme would permit councils to auction the rental rights of commercial high street properties vacant for more than 12 months in a 24 month period (image: Getty/Marilyn Nieves)

Related tags Property Camra Legislation

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pubs (Pubs APPG) has asked the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee to look at the impact the Government’s proposals for High Street Rental Auctions will have.

The proposals aim to regenerate the high street by allowing English councils to auction off leases for vacant properties including pubs.

It could allow pubs to be converted into shops or offices, divided up into multiple units or have their bars and cellars removed, without the usual planning process, according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Beloved feature

The consumer rights group, which provided secretariat services to the Pubs APPG, has urged the Government to keep pubs protected.

Pubs APPG chair Charlotte Nichols said: “The pub is a beloved feature of so many high streets and all recent legislation from the Government has recognised their unique status at the heart of communities.

“I believe these proposals are out of line with the kind of support pubs should be given by policymakers and I hope the select committee will take time to consider the full implications of High Street Rental Auctions.”

Earlier this month (May), CAMRA called on the Government to save high street pubs​. National chairman Nik Antona wrote to minister of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Dehenna Davison and asked the group’s members to email their MPs, calling for pubs to remain protected.

Planning protections

Antona said the goal of bringing disused pubs back into use was one shared by the consumer organisation but it was vital High Street Rental Auctions were used to support and rejuvenate urban pubs, instead of community venues being turned over the highest bidder.

He added: “We know pubs can increase and expand footfall on the high street and give communities a place to come together but we need [the] Government to understand this too.

“I’ve asked the minister to ensure pubs keep their planning protections under this scheme so communities still have their say.”

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