An important part of our heritage is at risk
For hundreds of years pubs have been at the centre of British social life and a key part of our cultural heritage, so we want to play a part in their preservation. Frequently, the first we know of an impending pub closure is after the event, when the pub is already boarded up. To prevent this from recurring, we are introducing pre-emptive measures to ensure that closures cannot happen before the local community has had a chance to act.
1. Areas of community value
Local Authorities hold lists of Assets of Community Value, which means that if a planning application for change of use is received, it helps the local community to act to retain and possibly bid to buy its pub. The Save our Pubs group is building up a register of all the pubs in the Chiltern Society area and, where appropriate, will apply for a pub to be listed as an Asset of Community Value.
Encouragingly we have learnt that the new National Planning Policy Framework published in July 2018 requires local authorities to have policies and make decisions that retain and guard against unnecessary loss of existing community facilities (including pubs). We shall continue to liaise with Local Authorities within the Chilterns to determine how best to contribute to the ongoing development of these Local Plans.
We are seeking to gain information about pub closures by careful inspection of planning notices published by local planning authorities and by liaising with CAMRA and individuals within the community to identify pubs which are under threat of being converted to residential or other uses.
4. Pub campaigns
The reasons for supporting the retention of a pub will be many e.g. heritage or historical value; importance to tourism and the leisure activities of the locality; only pub in a community or where there is strong support from within the local area.