Belfast Telegraph

Planning help sought to stop pubs being demolished or closed overnight

The Government is being urged to do more to help stop pubs from being demolished or closed.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) urged ministers to put pubs into a special class so that owners must always seek planning permission for a change of use or demolition.

A total of 2,000 pubs have been listed as an asset of community value (ACV), but Camra said local groups had to spend hours in a "lengthy and clunky" process to save their local.

ACVs can be granted on a building with a proven value to a local community, such as a library or post office, but pubs have had the biggest take-up since legislation was introduced last year.

Camra chairman Colin Valentine said: "It is heartening that so many communities across England have spent so much time going through the process of nominating their pub as an Asset of Community Value.

"This shows a huge appetite for protecting pubs, which are more than just businesses - they are invaluable landmarks in our communities.

"Unfortunately, the ACV process can be time-consuming, fraught with difficulties and at the end of the day is only a temporary measure - listings must be renewed every five years to maintain protection.

"It simply doesn't make sense that pub-goers have to jump through these extra hoops when it is clear that so many communities overwhelmingly want a say on the future of their much-loved pub.

"All we are asking for is a level playing field where a planning application on a pub has to go through the full planning process."