Pub campaigners claim the Government is letting communities down by allowing conversion of pubs to supermarkets without planning permission.

A change in the law in England and Wales in 1995 means failing or closed pubs are often targeted by national supermarket chains.

In Kirklees, for example, the Rising Sun, Golcar, is under threat of redevelopment from Tesco while The Co-operative Group is set to redevelop The Royal in Kirkburton which closed in 2013.

Two months ago, the former Grey Horse in Halifax Road, Birchencliffe, which had been closed for many months opened as a Tesco Express creating more than 15 jobs.

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is fighting back. It says 31 pubs are still closing per week and more needs to be done to protect pubs

Grey Horse, Birchencliffe, Huddersfield, for sale.
 

And it says 600 pubs have now been listed as Assets of Community Value, following a campaign to encourage local groups to register pubs as ACVs. There is a campaign in Calderdale to get the Holywell Inn on the list.

Tom Stainer, CAMRA head of communications, said: “The Government introduced Assets of Community Value to help communities retain valued community assets such as pubs by providing an opportunity to bid for the property if the owner intends to sell.

“But the scheme is undermined by rules that allow pubs to be converted into supermarket convenience stores and a wide range of other retail uses, without any need for a planning application.”

Evidence collated by CAMRA earlier this year revealed that two pubs a week are converted into supermarket convenience stores, which led to the launch of their Pubs Matter campaign which asks the Government to close the current loopholes and ensure planning permission is always required to convert a pub to other uses.

Mr Stainer added: “The fact pubs are the most listed community asset shows just how much people value their local pub.

“It is therefore hugely disappointing that the Government won’t act to close planning loopholes which allow developers to convert pubs to other uses without the requirement for planning permission.”

“Planning permission is required to convert a convenience store into a pub but no permission is required to convert a pub into a convenience store.

“The lack of protection for pubs is a glaring anomaly in the English planning system which needs to be corrected.

“It is surely not right that a supermarket convenience store is given greater planning protection than a valued community pub.”