Campaign for pubs

CAMPAIGNERS are urging the Government to change planning laws after scores of pubs were taken over and turned into shops.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) urged the Government to change planning laws which it said were allowing major supermarket chains and developers an “easy route” to demolishing or changing the use of pubs.

The campaign group said “arcane” planning law loopholes in England and Wales were rendering communities powerless in the fight to save their locals, with 251 pubs nationwide converted into convenience stores in the last two years.

It comes as campaigners in Hartlepool are battling against the closure of the Pink Domino pub in Catcote Road after planning permission was approved to turn it into a Farmfoods store, creating 15 jobs.

Other pubs in Hartlepool that have been turned into shops in recent years include the Powlett, in the town’s Powlett Road, the Shakespeare, in Catcote Road, and the Station Hotel in Station Lane.

Camra chief executive Mike Benner said: “Pubs are being targeted for development by supermarket chains due to non-existent planning controls. At a time when 18 pubs are closing every week, this is damaging a great British institution.”

Community pubs minister Brandon Lewis said: “The new planning framework makes clear councils should plan positively for the provision of community facilities such as pubs, and along with the new Community Right to Buy communities have the power to guard against their unnecessary loss.”