CAMRA Disappointed With Government Response To The Consultation On High Street Rental Auctions

Commenting on the publication of the Government response to the consultation on High Street Rental Auctions, CAMRA’s Pub and Club Campaigns Director, Gary Timmins said:

“Much of this is a disappointing step backwards for high street pubs.

“Campaigning to see vacant pubs brought back into use is one of CAMRA’s core objectives and the proposals for High Street Rental Auctions had the potential to be a really positive move, particularly the proposal’s focus on community uses. We know that pubs can increase and expand footfall on the high street, and we hoped Government understood this too.

“However, it was vital that pubs kept their planning protection under the scheme. CAMRA called on Government to ensure that pubs that became part of the High Street Rental Auction scheme weren’t gutted of their fittings ahead of bids for the premises, and this recommendation hasn’t been taken forward – leaving developers a clear path to permanently converting these venues.

“The recent Crooked House scandal has exposed just how far some are willing to go for a shot at redeveloping pubs, and that current planning protections for pubs simply aren’t fit for purpose. High Street Rental Auctions could have been a chance for Government to take a fresh approach and affirm their support for pubs. Instead, their response to this consultation is looking like yet another missed opportunity.

“I am pleased to see provision for Local Authorities to set the uses for which bids will be permitted, and that pubs are specifically given as a case where this would be appropriate. I urge the Trailblazer Authorities that will trial High Street Rental Auctions to make use of this provision, to protect high street pubs from unscrupulous redevelopment.”