Last orders for traditional boozers?

18 May 2017

Will the changes add another layer of protection or will we see a transition of "locals" becoming "drinking establishments with expanded food provision"?

From the 23 May 2017, permitted development rights allowing demolition, and conversion of buildings used as class A4 "drinking establishments" in to class A1 retail, A2 financial and professional services and class A3 restaurants and cafes will be closed. For those communities that have failed to list a pub as an Asset of Community Value, many will be raising a pint to this, particularly after alarming figures published in April revealed that London lost nearly 1,200 pubs between 2001 and 2016.   

However, a new permitted development right for pubs to be used for a mix of class A3 and A4 uses will be introduced, which could see more and more family friendly pubs opening across town centres, potentially calling time on Britain’s traditional taverns that are already closing their doors at a swift rate.

The order includes transitional provisions retaining existing rights in cases where requests to designate pubs as assets of community value (ACVs) are under consideration. It also stipulates that, for pubs covered by article 4 directions withdrawing existing permitted development rights to change from A4 to A3 use, the new right to create a mixed A3 and A4 use will not take effect until November 2018.

We’ve witnessed communities, admirably, fight tooth and nail for community pubs and it will be interesting to see how these changes are perceived by customers. Will they add another layer of protection or will we see a transition of "locals" becoming "drinking establishments with expanded food provision". Food for thought.   

The new right to ensure the protection of "valued community pubs" is a recognised benefit for local communities. However, we question if the revision to PD rights - removing the flexibility of a wider planning use - will limit the attractiveness of vacant/ derelict public houses in areas where the market is not a buyout. Nobody wants to see empty, boarded-up buildings.

Viability assessments will be crucial, and we will monitor the right's impact on the market, which could in fact result in the loss of more public houses where planning policy provisions are not in place.

For any further information on the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No 2) Order 2017, approved by Parliament on the 28th April 2017, or how this could affect your proposals, please do not hesitate in contacting Planning Potential.