Wandsworth pubs are now the ‘best protected in the entire country’ thanks to the removal of permitted development rights from over a hundred of the borough’s bars and taverns.
The local authority has granted Article 4 Directions to 120 historic pubs to prevent them from being converted into mini-supermarkets, estate agents, homes or shops without planning permission.
Under Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015, a council is able to veto the conversion of any building considered to have some value to the wider community.
Wandsworth’s 120 bars and pubs were chosen due to their historic or architectural value or because they make a positive contribution to their community.
‘Wandsworth’s pubs are now the best protected in the entire country and have a genuine defense against the relentless spread of mini-supermarkets and estate agents,’ said deputy council leader Jonathan Cook.
‘We know how much our residents love their locals and in many cases they really are the epicenter of community life. I’m proud and delighted we’ve found a way to protect them.’
‘I very much hope that other councils will follow our lead by adopting pub-friendly planning policies and then stripping away permitted development rights from their local inns, bars and taverns,’ Cllr Cook continued.
‘This could be a real turning point for our nation’s superb but vulnerable pub trade and Wandsworth is more than ready to share its approach with other authorities.’
Pubs are currently closing at the ‘alarming and unacceptably high’ rate of 21 a week according to Colin Valentine, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).
A YouGov poll of 2,000 people carried out on behalf of the campaign group revealed 82% of respondents said the cost of alcohol in supermarkets compared to pubs was a factor that had a fair, or great, impact on pub closures.
‘A pint in a local is becoming an unaffordable luxury, driving people away from the safe and social environment of the pub and encouraging them instead to drink cheap alcohol in their homes,’ Mr Valentine warned.