Property & Planning / Regulation / 27 January 2015

Brigid Simmonds' comment on Infrastructure Bill pubs vote

Commenting on last night’s vote on New Clause 16 of the Infrastructure Bill, which sought planning permission for pubs’ change of use, Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, said:

“I am pleased MPs have not supported this proposal.

“We already have adequate safeguards, through the community right to bid legislation, which offers protection against pubs being converted to other uses against the wishes of the local community, and can also give local people the right to buy the premises.

“If a pub is no longer viable and is boarded up while awaiting planning permission to change its use, no one benefits – but this would have been the likely consequence of this proposal. This would blight a local neighbourhood, attract squatting and reduce the value of the building to its owners. These owners are not just pub companies – they are just as likely to be independent small businesses.

“However, changes to secondary legislation that would mean pubs that are Assets of Community Value will in future need planning permission to change use, would also be an additional burden which other sectors would not face. It would be hard for small independent pubs who can find small community premises difficult to sell.”

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