Pub loss warning
CAMRA urges communities to protect ‘assets’ before it’s too late
representatives after another north Surrey pub closed its doors for the final time. Stanwell’s Three Crowns pub in Long Lane, Stanwell, has now closed, and is due to be demolished and replaced with 14 homes. Although planning permission for the new development was granted earlier this year, members of the community and representatives of the North Surrey Camra group are upset by the loss of another pub. The group recently campaigned against the closure of the Black Dog in Ashford, which was turned into a Tesco Express. Rob Angell, pubs officer for north Surrey Camra, said: “I’ve spoken to a few locals and they are very sad that it will no longer be a pub. It was popular and making money but the large car park behind is obviously attractive to a developer.
“It’s too easy to change a pub, you don’t need planning permission or change of use to convert them into something like a supermarket. “It was a very popular pub. The locals are very sad. It was popular and well run and had a very good landlord but for the freeholders it was a financial opportunity.
“If there is a car park or extra land a pub is a very attractive building and development opportunity.” Mr Angell added the George Inn in Guildford Street, Chertsey had also recently closed.
“It’s an old character pub which is going to be lost to the community,” added Mr Angell. “One of the few things we can do is register a pub to have a community asset status which means it is an aspect of the community. “The community asset status can only delay developments for six months. In that six months you have the opportunity to raise money to buy it. In the countryside a lot of people have done this. But in the suburbs like Stanwell it’s not quite the same. And once it’s gone it’s gone. “We are making people aware of what’s happening and we are doing what we can within our powers.” Jim Wheeler, of Camra North Surrey added: “Our community pubs matter and deserve to be protected. However, weak planning laws in England are failing to protect them. This weak planning system is contributing to the closure of 31 pubs a week in the UK: two pubs are converted to supermarkets alone every single week. Pubs currently fall within the A4 planning use class. This means they can be converted to any of use classes A1 A2 A3 B1, or even demolished, without planning permission or any community consultation. The current situation is ludicrous and is encouraging the loss of pubs.”
Jim Wheeler and Rob Angell of Camra at The Three Crowns which
has been sold for housing.