CAMRA cheered as Midland pubcos pledge support for pub planning charter

Pub companies in the West Midlands have joined with leading supermarket chains in a pledge to protect the future of the English pub.

The move moves a call for support issued by the All Party Parliamentary Pubs Group and the Campaign for Real Ale.

Following legislation that will see all English pubs protected under the planning system as of July, the All Party Group and CAMRA issued a joint letter calling for industry bodies to respect the spirit of the legislation before it comes into force.

Burton-upon-Trent based Punch Taverns has given its support, alongside Wolverhampton rival Marston’s.

They have been joined by retailers Sainsburys, Aldi and the Co-op, plus Heineken, Greene King, EI Group and Admiral Taverns.

The various companies will now automatically submit planning applications for any planned conversion or demolition of a pub rather than waiting until the new law comes into force in July obligating them to do so.

Currently, pubs can be converted into a number of uses or demolished altogether without permission being sought through a planning application. CAMRA said this had left pubs across England vulnerable to developers, contributing to pubs closing at the rate of 21 a week.

The new legislation will introduce a full and transparent planning application process for any intention to convert or demolish pubs in the future.

Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s national chairman said: “This act of good practice will bring confidence to pub-goers and pub campaigners who have fought tirelessly for these essential protections. I think this shows a real enthusiasm and willingness to work with pub campaigners across the country and is certainly welcome news to customers who enjoy England’s 48,000 pubs.”

Toby Perkins, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Pubs Group, added: “The legislation victory was welcomed across the pub sector, but many people feared we would see a raft of closures and demolitions in advance of it becoming law. I really welcome these nine firms committing to act in accordance with the legislation, in advance of it becoming law, and call on the whole industry to do the same.”