Thank you for contacting me about the protection of pubs from change of use and demolition.
During the passage of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, the Government committed to remove the permitted development rights for the change of use or demolition of drinking establishments, including pubs. This means that, in future, a planning application will be required in all cases, and addresses the long-standing call that there should be local consideration and an opportunity for the community to comment on the future of their local pub.
In making these changes, I am assured that the Government is ensuring that pubs will be able to innovate and intensify their use, for example by opening a pub garden or starting to provide live music, without facing a risk that this will be a change of use that requires a full planning permission.
It is also possible for a pub to be listed as an Asset of Community Value. So far around 2,000 locals have already been listed as such, and protected from being sold off under the nose of the community they serve. People who list their local pubs are then given six months and the support they need to come together with a community bid to buy it should it be put up for sale. The local planning authority may take the listing into account as a material consideration when determining any planning application.
You may also be interested to know that the ‘More than a Pub’ programme is providing a comprehensive package of support totalling £3.62 million to help establish 80 community owned pubs across England. I am further encouraged that the Government is continuing to support the ‘Pub is the Hub’ initiative, which helps pubs to diversify their offer to communities, ensuring their long term sustainability as viable community hubs
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.