Pubs across Waltham Forest are to be given an added layer of protection against developers.

Waltham Forest council has adopted a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) meaning developers must prove any pub is no longer useful in the community if they want to develop it.

In the bid to protect the borough’s best drinking spots the planning committee must now consider a range of issues when a pub is at the centre of an application.

The Public Houses SPD will form part of the council’s ‘local plan’ and will seek to protect and retain pubs for the benefit of communities.

The SPD sets out a series of policy tests that would have to be passed before the loss of a pub should be approved, and applies to pubs whether they are open or closed.

The key tests are around viability, marketing, heritage value, community value, and location.

Applicants would need to prove a pub can no longer function as a “viable business” by providing details of the last three years trading accounts, along with details of what measures have been tested to increase trade.


Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The Heathcote in Leytonstone was protected by a community campaign which saw it registered as an ACV

They would also have to evidence that the pub was prominently marketed for a minimum period of 12 months.

Even where it can be demonstrated that there is no genuine interest in the site’s re-use as a pub, a further marketing exercise will be required for alternative social infrastructure uses.

Of the 65 pubs in the borough, 22 are in buildings that are listed, locally listed, or make a positive contribution to a conservation area or local townscape.

Any applications in relation to these pubs would need to put forward development proposals that cause no harm to the heritage value.

The SPD will only apply to development proposals requiring planning permission.

Under national planning policy, the change of use from a pub to uses such as shops, restaurants and cafes, banks and building societies, and betting offices do not normally need planning permission.

However, as of April 6, pubs that have been registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) would need planning permission for such proposals, or for their demolition.

Residents must apply for a pub to be made an ACV.

For further information on Assets of Community Value go to the council’s website