Fight­ing tooth and claw to save pub

Con­vert­ing the White Lion would set a dan­ger­ous prece­dent, say cam­paign­ers

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Lor­can Lovett lor­canl.ovett@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

CAM­PAIGN­ERS will bat­tle to save an his­toric pub from be­ing de­vel­oped into a house next month.

The new own­ers of the White Lion in St Leonards have sub­mit­ted a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to Chiltern Dis­trict Coun­cil to turn the 300-year-old pub into a house.

About 80 peo­ple from the Save the White Lion group which regis­tered a com­mu­nity company to pur­chase the free­hold of the build­ing from the new own­ers and re­store it as a pub with com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties are ex­pected at the plan­ning com­mit­tee’s meet­ing.

CAMRA, the Cam­paign for Real Ale, has launched a sim­i­lar cam­paign na­tion­wide which asks the Gov­ern­ment to give more pro­tec­tion to pubs.

Mem­ber of the Save the White Lion group, Rick Waghorn, said: “In the Chilterns area pubs are worth a lot more if they are con­verted into houses. There is a dan­ger peo­ple buy up the pubs and close them down to sell off as houses and make vast prof­its.

“It is not just one or two pubs. If they man­age to get plan­ning per­mis­sion then quite a big prece­dent will be set in Jan­uary. It won’t just be one or two pubs.”

CAMRA, the Cam­paign for Real Ale, has an­nounced 600 pubs listed as As­sets of Com­mu­nity Value, fol­low­ing a cam­paign to en­cour­age lo­cal groups to reg­is­ter pubs as ACVs.

How­ever CAMRA of­fi­cials say that with 31 pubs still clos­ing per week more needs to be done to pro­tect pubs – with the Gov­ern­ment let­ting com­mu­ni­ties down by al­low­ing con­ver­sion of pubs to su­per­mar­kets with­out plan­ning per­mis­sion.

Tom Stainer, CAMRA head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said: “Gov­ern­ment min­is­ters are giv­ing com­mu­ni­ties false hope by sug­gest­ing that list­ing a pub as an As­set of Com­mu­nity Value is the so­lu­tion to gaps in the plan­ning sys­tem when they are clearly not.”

Ev­i­dence col­lated by CAMRA ear­lier this year re­vealed that two pubs a week are con­verted into su­per­mar­ket con­ve­nience stores, which led to the launch of their ‘Pubs Mat­ter’ cam­paign which asks the Gov­ern­ment to close the cur­rent loop­holes and en­sure plan­ning per­mis­sion is al­ways re­quired to con­vert a pub to other uses.

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