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Wandsworth Council to give locals a say in the development of pubs

What has Wandsworth Council done?

Wandsworth Council has announced that it will be making an article 4 direction to remove permitted development rights from 120 of its pubs and bars.

What is an article 4 direction?

An article 4 direction removes permitted development rights (PD Rights). PD Rights, in effect, allow specified types of development without the need to obtain planning permission. Assuming that the article 4 direction is confirmed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, the development of drinking establishments will require planning permission.

How will this affect pub owners?

The use of PD Rights by the owners of drinking establishments was severely curtailed in April 2015. The following PD Rights were withdrawn for drinking establishments that had been listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV):

  • Change of use to Class A1 (shops) Class A2 (financial and professional services) Class A3 (restaurants and cafés); 
  • Change of use to flexible use Class A1 (shops), Class A2 (financial and professional services), Class A3 (restaurants and cafés), and Class B1 (business), for a period of two years;
  • Change of use to a state funded school for one academic year; and 
  • Demolition of the building.

Even where a drinking establishment is not listed as an ACV, the owner cannot use PD Rights without first following a prescribed procedure.

Wandsworth Council does not feel that the ACV legislation does enough to safeguard the borough's pubs. This is why it is planning to make an article 4 direction.

What can pub owners do?

The article 4 direction will not come into force for another year. Pub owners who want to take advantage of PD Rights should not delay.

Will other councils follow?

Possibly. However, it is likely that a lot of councils will consider that drinking establishments already have adequate protection under the ACV legislation. If communities are worried about the future of their local pubs, they can already apply to have them listed as ACVs.

Contributor: Alexandra Holsgrove Jones

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at August 2016. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

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