Pub loss warn­ing

CAMRA urges com­mu­ni­ties to pro­tect ‘as­sets’ be­fore it’s too late

Surrey Herald/News - - NEWS - Char­lotte Tal­bot

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.”

Terry Hab­good HI145773

Jim Wheeler and Rob An­gell of Camra at The Three Crowns which

has been sold for hous­ing.

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