Bristol and District CAMRA joins forces with campaigners in fight to save community pubs
Bristol and District CAMRA has renewed its support for communities trying to save their local pubs by writing to Bristol City councillors and planning authorities and being represented at planning hearings.
Following a recent meeting with groups representing several pubs under threat in Bristol, the local CAMRA branch, led by its Pubs Group committee, has reiterated its support in attempts to save much loved community hostelries. Personalised letters have been sent to all Bristol city councillors calling for support for the city’s pubs.
Bristol CAMRA will be hosting a local media event on 2 November 2021, joined by members of community groups who are trying to save their local pubs – more information available below.
Bristol CAMRA Pubs Group chair Nigel Morris said: “We have been supporting these campaigns over recent months and were heartened to see that, in some cases, despite a few setbacks, local community groups are still determined to save their neighbourhood pubs.
“The pubs in question have been closed for a while but are still much missed by the community. It is often said that pubs would not close if they were viable. However, there are numerous examples of pubs around the country that were deemed unviable by the owners only to turn into thriving pubs under new ownership. Equally, owners sometimes want to cash in on the value of the property which can be worth a lot more for residential or other purposes and this is particularly the case in Bristol with its high property values.
“However, pubs have been at the heart of our communities for many years and the people trying to save these pubs clearly believe that they can once again be turned into thriving locals. In some cases, community groups are looking at buying these pubs, demonstrating the belief that they can be financially viable and successful.
“We have lost quite a few pubs in Bristol in recent years and some areas now have no or hardly any pubs left. When communities are prepared to organise themselves to try and save their local pubs, we will support them and offer advice.”
The branch is lobbying Bristol City Councillors to ask them to support these efforts and raise awareness of the Council’s specific policies to save pubs (policies BCS12 and DM6).
Policy BCS12 acknowledges the role of our community pubs as: ‘A focus for local people, helping to promote better personal contact between groups and individuals and generating community spirit and a sense of place. Together, they are all essential to the quality of life of people living and working in Bristol and can help to reduce levels of deprivation and social exclusion and improve health and wellbeing.’
Policy DM6 underpins this by: ‘Acknowledging their unique contribution to a community’s social amenity and wellbeing this Development Management policy affords them special protection.’
DM6 sets out a range of stringent requirements that developers must meet to gain planning consent for a change of use:
‘Proposals involving the loss of established public houses will not be permitted unless it is demonstrated that:
- The public house is no longer economically viable; or
- Adiverserange of public house provision exists within the locality.’
Nigel added: “It is encouraging to note that, in several cases, Ward Councillors have ‘called in’ the planning applications so any decision on their future will need to be made by the full Planning Committee rather than delegated to Planning Officers.
“We are backing the efforts by local people to save their locals and hope to see these pubs reopening their doors (as pubs) to communities in the not-too-distant future.”
Media event information: A media event with representatives from Bristol CAMRA, as well as from local community groups, is taking place Tuesday 2nd November 2021, at 10am at the Llandoger Trow, King Street, Bristol, BS1 4ER