Co-op agrees to back community pubs
Added: Wednesday, December 30th 2015
The Co-op has become the first major retailer to commit to protecting Britain’s community pubs by joining forces with CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale – to develop a set of principles for convenience stores based on pub sites.
The Co-op and CAMRA have jointly drawn up the guidelines that highlight the importance to communities of retaining successful community pubs. But they also recognise that some locals close as a result of poor trading and cannot be retained for pub use.
The principles do not relate to those pub sites where the Co-operative Group has existing legal arrangements but will cover any new contracts with developers and property owners that are entered into after 1 January 2016. The Co-op has stated that it will:
*Only develop pub sites using the planning permission process rather than relying on permitted development rights.
*Seek to encourage developers to use the planning permission process rather than relying on permitted development rights to convert pubs to alternatives uses.
*Continue individually to assess each trading pub that it is offered as a lease or development opportunity to assess the pub’s social value prior to an agreement to convert a site into a convenience store.
*Give further investigation to pubs with Asset of Community Value (ACV) listing ahead of any decision to proceed with a lease or redevelopment.
*Listen to the views of the local community – individuals, groups, including CAMRA branches – and local elected representatives and be willing to meet appropriate local representatives to discuss concerns.
*Not stand in the way of any group seeking to acquire and run a community pub.
*Develop land adjacent to an existing pub in a way that enhances the viability of both the new convenience store and the existing pub.
*Talk to CAMRA when exceptional circumstances mean it may not be possible to adhere to these principles.
CAMRA Chief Executive Tim Page says: “We are delighted that such a well-known retailer as the Co-op has demonstrated its commitment to communities and become the first to develop a set of principles to guide its store development with the needs and wish of local people in mind.
“The Co-op clearly recognises the value that pubs add to the communities they serve and also the fact that supermarket developments can not only co-exist alongside pubs but they benefit each other.
“We urge all retailers to be as forward thinking and community- minded as the Co-op when it comes to planned developments that might have an impact on community locals.”