The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has today responded to the Government’s consultation on planning reform. In its response, the BBPA has said that pubs must be front of mind when it comes to increasing planning flexibility, which will in turn help boost town centres and high streets.
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, comments:
“The pub is the heart of the community and vital to the high street offer, so it must be front of mind when it comes to planning reform. Changes to the Use Class Orders are key to this, so greater planning flexibility for leisure use is offered to pubs, not just restaurants and other hospitality businesses. Although merging Use Classes A1 (retail), A2 (Professional Services) and A3 (Food & Drink) would allow for more mixed uses, it would leave out pubs, meaning Use Class A4 (pubs) must be given greater flexibility too so pubs can make better use of their space.
“The decline of the high street to date and closures to other public spaces has made pubs more precious than ever before. Many community pubs across the UK already house post offices, shops and libraries and there are no reasons why large pub premises should not provide a similar offer in town centres. This requires further discussions to ensure that whilst pubs’ unique planning statuses are retained, they have the opportunity to act as mixed-use venues too.
“Town centres and high streets have a vital role to play in the need to build more housing, so the opportunity to extend buildings upwards is sensible. However, it is vitally important that the Agent of Change principle, which puts the onus on developers to protect existing businesses like pubs from noise complaints, is implemented vigorously and clearly identified in new guidance in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (Paragraph 182).”