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Call on Bradford Council to help protect pubs
10:00am Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
Bradford Council is expected to back a call to protect the district’s pubs from closure when it meets next week.
A motion that would give the authority greater power to determine if pubs should be demolished or converted for another use will go before the Council next Tuesday.
If approved, the proposal will be submitted to the Government, with the aim to gain support for it from other councils in Yorkshire and across the country.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) says pubs are closing across the UK at a rate of 26 per week.
Councillor Geoff Reid, who alongside fellow Liberal Democrat councillor Alun Griffiths is moving the motion, said: “At the moment pubs are very vulnerable and for all sorts of reasons. It is a bit like when I was young and we lost a lot of cinemas because the wider community didn’t recognise the value of them in community terms. This is why we are asking that local authorities, via Government, could have a role so that we don’t lose things we shouldn’t be losing.”
The motion reads: “That the Secretary of State help protect community pubs in England by ensuring that planning permission and community consultation are required before community pubs are allowed to be converted to betting shops, supermarkets and pay-day loan stores or other uses, or allowed to be demolished.”
Coun Reid added: “When I was on local planning, when there was an issue over a pub on Wakefield Road, the Muslim members of the panel were right behind it, despite not drinking alcohol, because they recognised the pub as a community resource.
“I think there might be some support from across the Council chamber for this.”
Coun Reid said it is currently “quite easy” to change the use of a pub if it is still to be used as a retail outlet.
“We want local authorities in general to bring some restraints to a difficult situation. We need to make the distinction between pubs and retail outlets.”
A spokesman for the British Beer & Pub Association said: “To be fair to the Government, it has taken action in this area, introducing the ‘community right to bid’ in the recent Localism Act, which gives residents the opportunity to bid for pubs that might otherwise not stay open. Pubs can also be placed on a local community asset registers.
“We’ve seen big rises in the costs of tax and regulation facing pubs in recent years, with Governments of all persuasions imposing huge rises in the tax on beer, for instance, which really hits pubs hard.”
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