Change of use of drinking establishments

Part of Neighbourhood Planning Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:15 pm on 28th March 2017.

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Photo of Greg Mulholland Greg Mulholland Liberal Democrat, Leeds North West 2:15 pm, 28th March 2017

The hon. Gentleman is kind, and it is nice of him to say so. It has been a pleasure working with him, and with Members on both sides of the House, because that is how, as parliamentarians with an interest and a zeal for campaigning, we can change things. We can all do it in different ways, and I look forward to doing so in the future. The changes we have had, including on pub companies, show that we can succeed and that all-party groups and campaigning in this place, when done well, can be successful. I have been nearly 20,000 feet up a mountain with the hon. Gentleman, but I have never been to a pub in Bassetlaw with him, which we might have to put right. If he would like to do that, I would be delighted to join him.

There is a real threat from unscrupulous developers, owners, pub companies and supermarkets that seek to offload pubs, demolish them and get supermarkets in place before planning permission is needed, and I remind the House of the utter absurdity that communities currently have no right to object to the imposition of a supermarket and the loss of a viable pub, but have the right in the planning process to complain about the supermarket’s signage. The amendment is finally reversing that nonsense, but it will continue to happen until the amendment is enacted. Now that the Government have made clear their intent, which has the full support of both Houses—that is very unusual—and of all major parties, the Minister should seriously consider a moratorium on any demolitions or conversions. A moratorium would be extremely useful in stopping the continued loss of pubs.