People from 25 London Boroughs say no to pub closures
People from 25 boroughs across London (including the City of London) met to discuss the scandalous continuing loss of pubs across the Capital. Licensees, local council planners and people who simply love their pub, got together to hear about the current planning laws and what protection can be offered to pubs.
Geoff Strawbridge, CAMRA's London Regional Director, said 'This issue is so important to so many people that the Conference was oversubscribed and we had to turn people away - it just shows how important pubs are to people and communities - they aren't just buildings. We are pleased that our Mayor is looking at pubs in his planning policies - but we would like him to take a lead, not just for London but also for the rest of the country. Issuing his London Plan, and lobbying the Prime Minister, to ensure that there can be no change of any use to a pub without planning permission would make such a difference. The current government do not want to introduce new planning laws but we must make pubs an exception. We know that Boris is not afraid to take a lead and in something as important as pubs, we need his championship to save London pubs'.
Geoff then added 'Let's not forget that pubs are an important employer of the under 30's and that over 64% of overseas visitors wish to visit an English pub, it's essential that we do everything we can to keep London's pubs. We have lost around 1000 pubs in London is the last couple of decades so we are not crying wolf as to this dire situation".
The conference was held at the Fuller's Melton Mowbray pub in High Holborn, which was so popular it was oversubscribed - there wasn't an empty seat in the house. The conference covered Assets of Community Value, Article 4 Directions and other tools within a campaigner's repertoire but it was pointed out that all of these were limited and required more armour if London is to stop losing its pubs.
The Conference attracted a wide range of experienced speakers including Ameneh Enayat (Outreach Officer for Local Works who are campaigning on the Sustainable Communities Act), Bill Linskey (Chair of the Brixton Society), Michael Bach (Chairman of the Planning & Transport Committee of the London Forum of Amenities and Civic Societies), Vincent Stops (Chair of Hackney Planning Sub-Committee), John Cryne (ex National Chairman of CAMRA) and James Watson (CAMRA East London Pubs Protection Officer).
The next steps for CAMRA is to develop an all London Pubs strategy, which will be published soon.
For further information contact: John Cryne: 07802 174861.
● Boroughs represented at the meeting were:
- City of London
- Royal Boroughs of Greenwich
- Hammersmith and Fulham
- Royal Boroughs of Kingston upon Thames
- Richmond upon Thames
- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
- Tower Hamlets
- Waltham Forest