The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Labour Council to protect Sheffield’s community pubs from development.
In a motion to the September Full Council meeting, the Liberal Democrats are proposing that Sheffield City Council adopt a similar approach to Wandsworth Borough Council, which has become the first Council to formally protect pubs from development by implementing an 'Article 4 Direction', removing permitted development rights from 120 pubs in the borough.
Under UK law, pubs are currently able to be converted into convenience stores under permitted development rights, accelerating the rate of pub closures.
The motion also proposes that Sheffield City Council’s planners take into account a pub’s ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV) status as a material consideration when applications for change of use are made, further protecting pubs from development.
The Plough, in Sandygate, is currently under threat of being turned into a Sainsbury’s convenience store. The campaign to save the pub, led by local residents has gathered support across the city and from local Councillors and Lib Dem MP Nick Clegg. The Plough has ACV status and it is unknown yet whether Sheffield’s planners will take this into account and stop the development.
A number of other pubs across the city without ACV status, such as the Cherry Tree in Cartnerknowle, are also currently under threat. Lib Dem Councillors believe that by adopting these 2 approaches the Labour Council could protect many more of our city’s community pubs.
21 pubs are closing a week across the whole of the UK and latest figures received from Sheffield City Council show that 68 pubs have closed since 2011.
Cllr Adam Hanrahan said
“Sheffield is known all over the world for its beer, and was recently named real ale capital of the world in a report by Sheffield City Region, so it’s a terrible shame that so many of our community pubs are closing or under threat of closure all across the city.
“Pubs bring people together, as well as being a boost to the local economy providing jobs and a draw for other businesses.
“I hope the Labour Council will be brave enough to take action to protect our treasured community pubs. Wandsworth Council’s actions have shown that we don’t have to accept this recent trend for pub closures and we can protect our city’s pubs and heritage for the next generation to enjoy.”