MP backs new plan to save pubs

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Wolverhampton MP Rob Marris has backed plans to boost communities fighting to save their local pubs.

The government has announced that it is accepting an amendment to the law introduced by Labour’s Lord Roy Kennedy, which will end the practice of demolishing or converting public houses without the need for planning permission. 

Rob Marris said:  “In recent years, many pubs across the country have closed and been replaced by housing or shops – for example the Quarter House site on Compton Road.  Weak planning laws have contributed to the 21 pub closures we see on average each week across the country.

“Pubs are a crucial part of our culture.  Of course not every pub can stay open. Nevertheless this new legislation will at least ensure that proper consultation takes place before decisions are made.  Sometimes that consultation will lead to the pub being saved because it is able to continue trading – for example if it is taken over by a community pub group.”

The campaign for the new legislation had widespread support.  It was backed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), and by the All Party Parliamentary Pub Group, and by the British Pubs Confederation.  Initially the government opposed the demand to make it necessary for developers to get planning permission to demolish or convert a pub.  However, the government listened to the weight of support, and changed its mind.  The new rules will give councillors a say in the future of pub sites.

Mr Marris added:  “I am glad that the government has accepted the huge body of opinion that existing protections were inadequate.  This will mean that the rules are the same in every part of England, and will give communities a vital say over what happens to their local pub. This is a victory to which we can all raise a glass.  Can I suggest that all campaign supporters help their local pub by raising a glass in celebration!”

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