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Wandsworth calls time on pub permitted development rights

Published: Thursday, 25th August 2016

London council uses Article 4 Directions to remove permitted development rights from 120 of the boroughs most popular bars and taverns…

Wandsworth Council has announced pioneering proposals to remove permitted development rights from some 120 of the south west London borough’s most popular and iconic bars by using Article 4 Directions.

The council is thought to be the first local authority in the country to deploy Directions on this scale and expects its example to be followed by other local planning authorities.

The aim of this strategy is to prevent pubs and bars being converted into other uses without the need to justify the change by seeking planning permission.

Wandsworth claimed that “an alarming number of local inns and taverns” including many viable and thriving business had been converted into other uses with councils powerless to stop this process as owners had ‘permitted development rights’ allowing them to make the change without the need for planning permission.

The Conservative led council said the recent spread of mini­supermarkets has exacerbated the problem, with the major chains competing all over the country to find new premises and often choosing to convert pubs rather than taking over existing retail units.

In preparation for the Article 4 Directions, the council has already approved new planning guidance which specifically recognises the historic, architectural and community value of Wandsworth’s pubs.

Deputy council leader Jonathan Cook said: “Our pubs will now be the best protected in the entire country and have a genuine defence against the relentless spread of mini­supermarkets and estate agents.”

The Article 4 Directions were published last week and will need to be confirmed by the council before coming into force in August next year (2017).

View the press release

Roger Milne