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Bid to protect city pubs gets setback
4:00am Thursday 19th December 2013 in News
CIVIC chiefs in Southampton have suffered a setback in their bid to protect city pubs.
The Government has rebuffed their request for a change in the law which would have made it more difficult to convert pubs into shops and takeaways.
But despite the blow, council leader Simon Letts says the authority is looking at fresh avenues to prevent pubs across the city from disappearing.
Cllr Letts wanted the Government to change the law to make sure pubs cannot be converted into takeaways or supermarkets without planning permission and community consultation. But the council has now received a letter back from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles’ department stating that the law will not be changed.
Cllr Letts said: “We are disappointed by the response but it’s a predictable response from Government.
“We are disappointed they haven’t done their bit to protect community pubs, but we have another avenue we are now pursuing.”
That avenue is to use planning law known as an Article 4 Direction to ensure planning applications are needed for any proposed pub conversion.
However, even if they can be used, the Communities Secretary, would still have powers to modify or cancel any Article 4 Directions.
Officers have been instructed to look into the possibility of using Article 4 Directions and report back to council bosses.
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