York Green Party

Green move to protect York pubs

28 November 2014

The Green Group on York Council has submitted a motion to give the Council more power to prevent local pubs being turned into supermarkets.

At the moment, thanks to national planning policy, pubs can be turned into retail units under 'permitted development' rights. This allows property owners to turn a profitable pub into a more profitable supermarket without public involvement in the process. The Campaign for Real Ale estimates that two pubs per week were turned into supermarkets in 2012 and 2013 and has launched a major campaign, Pubs Matter, calling on local and national government to do more to protect pubs.

The Green motion, submitted to the Full Council Meeting on December 11th, would introduce an 'Article 4' direction1 cancelling these permitted development rights. This would mean a planning application would have to be made by anyone wanting to change the use of a pub. This would allow Councillors, informed by local residents through the consultation process, to intercede where a pub is a still a going concern and valued by the local community. 'Article 4' directions have been widely used elsewhere in the UK to protect cherished local pubs.

As well as calling on York to adopt an Article 4 direction for the city, the Green motion supports the Early Day Motion 208 in Parliament2 which calls on the government to amend permitted development rights nationwide.

Green Councillor Andy D'Agorne said: "I hope this will get cross party support to quickly take action so that pubs like the Saddle in Fulford and the Punch Bowl can at be protected from conversion to supermarket without a full planning application."

The full text of the Green motion is as follows:

Council notes with concern the growing number of local pubs that are closing and being threatened with conversion to supermarkets, without the opportunity for the local community to have a say in the process.

Council further notes and supports Early Day Motion 208 signed by many MPs including Hugh Bayley:

"That this House believes that permitted development rights are leaving pubs in England vulnerable to demolition or conversion to a range of retail uses without planning permission; further believes, in light of evidence from the Campaign for Real Ale, that two pubs a week are converted to supermarkets, and that these planning loopholes are contributing to the loss of valued community amenities; is concerned that local people are being denied a say in the future of their neighbourhoods; and so urges the Government to bring forward amendments to the General Permitted Development Order 1995 so that any demolition or change of use involving the loss of a pub would require planning permission."

In the short term, in order to provide more local accountability this council resolves to call on Cabinet to follow the example of councils such as Wandsworth and Cambridge by introducing an Article 4 exemption to GPDO 1995 so as to require application for planning permission for such change of use within the boundary of the City of York.

Advice should also be given to local groups on how to register their local as a 'community asset', with proactive work by communities, neighbourhoods and equalities staff to identify key social assets in local communities that need to be protected.

 

Notes -

  1. The 'Article 4' powers were created in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995
  2. See Early Day Motion 208 on the parliament.uk website. Supporters include Green MP Caroline Lucas and York Central MP Hugh Bayley.

Wording of motion has been amended to reflect that finally used.

UPDATE: Council officers have recommended that, at the 11 December council meeting, the Council does not use Article 4 powers to remove development rights without the need for planning permission. Councillor Andy D'Agorne said, "It is shocking that the council appears to be cowed by developers into denying local residents the right for the matter to be even considered as a planning application. The local community will be directly affected by this and deserves to be consulted."







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