Bill Esterson MP has given his backing to new plans which will give a real boost to local communities fighting to save their local pubs.
The Government has announced that it will accept an amendment brought by Labour Peer Lord Kennedy which will end the practice of demolishing or converting public houses without the need for planning permission, which has seen so many pubs across the country lost to their local Communities.
The campaign for the new legislation, which was backed by CAMRA, the All Party Parliamentary Pub Group and the British Pubs Confederation has forced the Government to back down from its opposition and agree that developers will now need specific planning permission before demolishing or converting pubs giving local Communities and Councillors a real say in what is happening in their community.
Bill Esterson MP said: “Pubs are a crucial part of our local Community and whilst not every pub will stay open, this new legislation at least ensures proper consultation before decisions are made.
"This is good news for pubs in Crosby, Formby, Maghull, Lydiate, Aintree and Melling.
“I am glad that the Government have accepted the huge body of opinion that existing protections were inadequate. This now means that the rules are the same in every part of the country, and puts communities back in charge of what happens to their local pubs. This is a victory that we can all raise a glass to, can I suggest that we all show our support for our local pubs by enjoying a glass down there to celebrate this important step?”
The amendment would remove permitted development rights from pubs and ensure that any changes of use or demolition in the future will require a planning application, thereby allowing for a local decision in all cases.
It will commit the Secretary of State to bring forward secondary regulation to remove the permitted development rights for the change of use of a public house to a restaurant or café, financial or professional service or shop, and to remove the right to a temporary change of use to an office for up to two years, the right to the temporary change of use to a school for one academic year, and of demolition.
The amendment would also allow for the introduction of a new permitted development right to enable pubs to expand their food offer without the need for planning permission.
The government have pledged to bring forward the secondary regulations his year.
Currently, unless they have been listed as Assets of Community Value with the local authority, pubs can be demolished or have their use changed without such permission being granted.
Bill Esterson MP added: “The Labour Party supports local pubs which are often at the heart of our community and which if they were to close or be converted would be a real loss to the local area. We have some excellent pubs in Central Sefton and they play an important role in the community and economy of our area. I am very pleased that the government has accepted Labour's amendment to the legislation to protect our pubs.
“We are not against a change of use per se- but we are opposed to changes of use going through permitted development, denying communities and local residents their right to have a say over how their local area is shaped”.