Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Move To Halt City Councils Bid To Protect Pubs Condemned By MP

Julian Huppert MP

MP Julian Huppert has condemned an attempt to stop Cambridge City Council from adopting a planning policy to protect the city’s pubs.

Julian has tabled a Commons’ Early Day Motion expressing anger over the move by the British Beer and Pub Association to take the council’s decision to judicial review.

“The decision shows that the BBPA no longer has the interests of pub goers and local publicans at heart,” he said.

“Cambridge City Council is working hard to protect local pubs, especially those which have proved themselves to be popular and profitable. Their reforms would go some way to ending the awful practice of BBPA members and others selling viable, wanted pubs for non-pub use to turn a quick profit.

“We have lost a huge number of pubs in the last decade and more will be lost if we don’t find a way to protect them. Our pubs are at the heart of our communities but in recent years we have seen them demolished to make way for new development or used for other businesses.

“I am already seeking to change the law, through my Private Member’s Bill, to fix this problem. In the meantime, I hope BBPA stop their action against Cambridge City Council, and start to work with local communities to support viable pubs.”

The full wording of Julian’s EDM is as follows:

Condemns the decision of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) to pursue judicial review against Cambridge City Council's supplementary planning policy for pubs despite being introduced by a democratically elected council; dismisses thinly veiled attempts of the BBPA to justify their actions as benefiting pubs when Cambridge City Council’s policy will help protect viable local pubs; notes that Cambridge City Council has done what the Government envisaged in the Localism Bill and built on the NPPF with locally tailored planning policies; recognises that the planning system allows the demolition of freestanding pubs and the conversion of pubs to a number of different uses without planning permission, which means that BBPA members and others are selling viable, wanted pubs for non pub use without the community having a say; believes that the actions of the BBPA are a further example that they serve the interests of property owning pub companies and big pub owning brewing companies and they no longer represent the British brewing industry and do not represent pubs, licensees and customers; commends Cambridge City Council's intension to defend the policy against the BBPA; notes that the Local Services (Planning) Bill would provide much needed protection for local pubs; and calls on the government to close the loopholes in planning policy that allows pubs to be converted or demolished without planning permission so that all changes of use or demolitions of a pub go through the planning process, to allow the local community to have a say and defend local pubs.