Final ‘London Plan’ set to be approved today, now boroughs should conduct market testing of empty pub sites
Local pubs will be protected, for the first time, in the Mayor’s final planning policy for London.
The document, set to be approved by the London Assembly today, encourages boroughs to develop policies to ‘protect’ as well as ‘retain, manage and enhance’ public houses.
This follows the publication of ‘Keeping Local’, a recent report showing that London has lost over 400 pubs between 2003-2012, and urging improved protection for pubs when it comes to changing their use or demolishing them.
Report author and GLA Conservatives planning spokesman, Steve O’Connell, said:
“The local pub is a great British institution and we should do everything we can to help them thrive in our communities. The Mayor’s commitment to help boroughs protect valued pubs from being lost, where it is possible to do so, is an important one. Now London boroughs must take forward these protections into their own local plans, and introduce rigorous market testing and viability tests before any development on pub sites can be considered. Developers should be demonstrating that they’ve marketed the site for a reasonable amount of time before planning permission can be considered, the pub has been vacant for at least two years, and that any new development does not detrimentally affect the character of the street.”
The Mayor’s ‘London Plan’ is set to be approved by the London Assembly on Friday morning (6th February) at City Hall.
Steve O’Connell’s report, Keeping Local, has been specifically referenced in the Mayor’s ‘London Plan’ and can be accessed at: www.glaconservatives.co.uk/kl
Further details on planning guidelines (London Plan) text:
· Paragraph 4.48A states that where there is sufficient evidence of need, community asset value and viability in pub use, boroughs are encouraged to bring forward policies to ‘retain, manage and enhance’ public houses.
· Policy 4.8 states that boroughs should develop policies to protect valued local community assets, including public houses, justified by robust evidence.
· Policy 3.1B is also specifically referenced so that pubs are included in the following protection:
Development proposals should protect and enhance facilities and services that meet the needs of particular groups and communities. Proposals involving loss of these facilities without adequate justification or provision for replacement should be resisted.
· The Mayor’s ‘Town Centres Supplementary Planning Guidance’ (published in July, but given effect by the new London Plan policies), also states in paragraph 1.2.20:
Where there is sufficient evidence of need, community asset value and viability in pub use, boroughs are encouraged to take these policies further to manage, enhance and, where justified, retain public houses and to inform development management decisions affecting them. These policies should take into account local circumstances including:
– the continuing viability of use as a public house
– history of vacancy
– the prospect of achieving reuse at prevailing market values
– whether the pub has been marketed effectively for reuse.