The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has stepped up its efforts to change the planning regime which it claims is currently allowing the nation’s major supermarket chains and developers an easy way of converting pubs into supermarkets and convenience stores.
CAMRA is now lobbying to persuade the Government to change the existing Use Classes Order arrangements which allow pubs to be demolished or converted without the need for planning permission.
Based on a national pub conversion survey carried out by its members, CAMRA has found that since the beginning of 2010, some 130 pubs have been converted into convenience stores by supermarket giant Tesco, and 22 by Sainsbury’s, with a further 54 by other companies such as The Co-Operative, Asda and Costcutter.
The group claims that a further 45 pubs are reported to be under threat of conversion across Britain at present.
From our own experience having produced schemes for a growing number of pub to flats conversions is that we are finding many landlords just cannot feasibly continue running a public house where the trade just isnt there. Gone are the days of popping into your local pub for a few drinks on a evening. Even the Town centre weekend rush seems to have dilluted a little with many consumers staying at home to drink in the house with friends. Ironically we are finding that most pub conversions are resisted by the local community citing that they are losing a valued facility, yet couldnt state when the last time they actually used the public house!.
From our recent conversions, most applications have been approved under planning, providing the client can show that retaining the public house is not feasible economically. Many have changed hands a few times before the application to convert, so most planner appear sympathatic to the fact that the buildings may well just stand empty, creating a crime spot, eyesore and de-valuing the street scene all at the same time.
If you need us to look at apublic house you are thinking of converting, we can show you examples of previous schemes and talk you throug what may be achievable.