The Government has announced plans to change the law to provide greater protection for pubs.
Ministers hope this will stop pubs from being demolished or converted into different uses against the will of local people.
Communities are already able to list their local as an asset of community value, and around 600 have been so listed. ACVs allow communities six months to bid to buy the pub if it comes up for sale.
Now Ministers want to allow communities the right to consider planning applications when changes are proposed to the use of their ACV listed locals.
Community Pubs Minister Kris Hopkins said: “Aside from being part of the social and cultural fabric of our nation, pubs also provide thousands of jobs and boost the economy by £21 billion a year.
“This change in the law will provide even greater protection for local pubs and give communities even more of a say in their preservation.
“But the planning system can only do so much: planning rules cannot keep pubs open which are not making money.”
Dale Ingram, specialist heritage and planning consultant from Planning For Pubs Ltd said: “It is good news that the government has taken an enlightened step in the right direction with this move. Pubs listed as Assets of Community Value will now automatically be the subject of planning applications for permanent and temporary changes of use which previously did not require consent such as to restaurants, offices and shops and any proposal to demolish. This will give planning authorities and local communities an opportunity to prevent the loss of valued pubs.”
LB Wandsworth will be happy about this change, forcing change of use planning applications prior to conversion to other uses. They have issued a number of ACVs on pubs.