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Pub landmark is ‘bittersweet’, says CAMRA

Words: Laura Edgar

There are now 600 pubs in England listed as Assets of Community Value (ACV).

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, says the government is letting communities down by allowing the conversion of pubs to supermarkets without planning permission, as 31 pubs are closing each week.

Case Study: Save the Golden Harp

The Golden Harp, Maidenhead, Berkshire, was once a thriving local pub until Tesco announced plans to convert the property in 2012.

After an 18-month campaign the pub was successfully listed as an ACV, but the pub became a Tesco supermarket in June 2014.

Campaigner Mark Newcombe said: “This case remains a constant reminder of the ineffectiveness of the current legislation and the failure of local democracy to protect community assets.”

Stainer added: “Government ministers are giving communities false hope by suggesting that listing a pub as an Asset of Community Value is the solution to gaps in the planning system when they are clearly not.”

Head of communications at CAMRA Tom Stainer explained that the government introduced the scheme to help communities retain assets they value, such as pubs, by registering them as ACVs.

“But the scheme is undermined by rules that allow pubs to be converted into supermarket convenience stores and a wide range of other retail uses without any need for a planning application.”

After collating evidence that revealed that two pubs a week were being converted into retail property, CAMRA launched a ‘Pubs Matter’ campaign in a plea to the government to close loopholes to ensure that planning permission is always required to convert a pub.

“Planning permission is required to convert a convenience store into a pub, but no permission is required to convert a pub into a convenience store. The lack of protection for pubs is a glaring anomaly in the English planning system, which needs to be corrected. It is surely not right that a supermarket convenience store is given greater planning protection than a valued community pub,” said Stainer.