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Help save your village pub

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Latest news from the Haverhill Echo, haverhillecho.co.uk, @haverhill on Twitter

Village pub lovers are being urged to take part in a consultation to see whether their locals could be better protected from conversion to offices and shops or from being knocked down.

The seven week consultation has launched after South Cambridgeshire District Council’s economic development portfolio holder, Cllr Nick Wright, agreed to consult local communities on the possibility of using an Article 4 Direction – a planning power which could mean pubs would no longer be able to be converted or demolished without the need to submit a new planning application.

On average 18 pubs a week are closing in England and under current planning legislation a pub can be lawfully converted to a shop without any further planning permission. That change can be made under what is known as permitted development rights.

The consultation will consider whether an Article 4 Direction should be implemented to stop specific pubs being demolished without consent and will also invite communities to comment if they believe a change of use to existing pubs should be taken away to give them extra protection.

The use of an Article 4 Direction would mean that any change of use or demolition would need planning permission to be granted. Local communities will be given the opportunity to have their say as the application will include a consultation.

Cllr Nick Wright, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “Pubs are at the heart of many communities and we do not want to see them lost without local people having a say. Please make sure you take this opportunity as your views really do matter in making sure we target any extra protection correctly. No one wants pubs to sit empty, but by using an Article 4 Direction correctly we can make sure local people are consulted before an owner can make any changes to the use of the building.”

To have your say visit www.scambs.gov.uk/content/consultation-greater-protection-public-houses.

The consultation closes at midnight on Monday 23 February.

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