CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) is advocating for the government to provide additional safeguards for pubs to prevent them from being unlawfully converted or demolished. The organisation emphasises the necessity for local councils to have increased authority, including compelling the reconstruction of demolished pubs. This plea follows the destruction of the historic Crooked House pub in Himley, which was devastated by a fire and demolished shortly after its sale. The pub, known for its distinctive lopsided structure, was at the centre of community controversy and a police investigation following the fire.
The Crooked House, near Lower Gornal by Richard Vince, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
In a recent meeting with Levelling Up Minister Lee Rowley MP, CAMRA highlighted the need for councils to have more power to protect these establishments. Despite existing regulations requiring planning permission for the alteration or demolition of pubs in England, CAMRA's research indicates that up to a third of such demolitions may bypass these legal requirements. The organisation is also advocating for similar protective measures in Wales, where no such protections exist, and for closing legal gaps in Scotland that allow pubs to be demolished without planning permission.
Nik Antona, CAMRA's chairman, stressed the importance of pubs as central to the UK's community life and social fabric. He argues for the public's opportunity to save local pubs through the planning system and for local authorities to have the means to restore or rebuild illegally demolished pubs. Antona warns that more cherished local pubs could be lost to their communities without these measures.
In addition to lobbying for legal changes, CAMRA is offering guidance to those seeking to preserve their local pubs and is collaborating with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Mayor Andy Street to list heritage pubs for additional protection.
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