New rules to protect pubs from demolition or their conversion to shops and other retail uses recently come into effect…

For those of you amenable to a drink or two at your local pub from time to time, this will come as good news!

As from 23 May 2017, permitted development rights to demolish pubs have ceased and there are no longer rights to demolish drinking establishments with expanded food provision, either.

Recent Amendments to Planning Legislation

The amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order), which came into effect on 23 May 2017 removed permitted development rights to change the use of a pub or other drinking establishment (A4 use) to other ‘A’ class uses, such as a shop (A1 use), financial or professional services (A2 use) or restaurant/cafe (A3 use).

A new Class AA has been created entitled “drinking establishments with expanded food provision” which will permit a change of use from drinking establishment (A4 use) to a mix of drinking establishment and restaurants and cafes (A3 use).

Permitted development rights will also allow a change from Class AA to Class A4 under the Order.

What is the purpose of the changes?

According to figures released by London mayor Sadiq Khan, the number of London pubs has fallen by 1,220 pubs since 2001 in London alone – an average of 81 closures a year. It has been stated that in some Boroughs this has dealt a hammer blow to the night time economy and local community.

The drop in the number of pubs in the capital was blamed on issues including rises in business rates, conflicts with residents and developers and the relaxation of permitted development rights in 2015 – which allows certain types of development to go ahead without planning permission.

The new measures are intended to help ensure that the loss of drinking establishments does not continue at the current rate, with any conversions requiring a full planning application to justify the loss of the unit. Any application will then be assessed against national and local policy requirements.

“From the outset of my mayoralty, I’ve made safeguarding and growing the night-time economy a key priority and this simply isn’t possible without a thriving pub scene. Together with my night czar, Amy Lame, we will do all we can to protect pubs across London.”

“The great British pub is at the heart the capital’s culture. From traditional workingmen’s clubs to cutting-edge micro-breweries, London’s locals are as diverse and eclectic as the people who frequent them.” – Sadiq Khan.

This guide is for general information and interest only and should not be relied upon as providing specific legal advice. If you require any further information about the issues raised in this article please contact the author or call 0207 404 0606 and ask to speak to your usual Goodman Derrick contact.