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Save our pubs - more bad news in Bradford.

October 29, 2011 8:11 AM

Pubs around the country are going out of business and the sight of abandoned licensed premises is becoming increasingly familiar.

It's estimated that nationally 39 pubs a week are closing.

In October 2010 the Beehive in Bradford was given permission for conversion to residential use.

Village pubs are particularly vulnerable if they don't get the support of their local community.

However villagers in Honeystreet in Pewsey fought back. They won a lottery grant to save the future of their local pub and will have their story filmed for a prime-time BBC One TV series next year. Honeystreet villagers last summer applied to Village SOS - a scheme by Big Lottery Fund and the BBC - to save the Barge Inn, which was at risk of closure. After fighting off competition from 24 other village business proposals across the UK, the Barge Inn Community Project has been announced as one of the scheme's six winners and will receive a Big Lottery Fund grant of £273,840 to make the villagers' dreams of taking over the pub a reality. See a video and full information about the project at http://www2.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_village_sos?tab=2

Reasons for the decline are complex, but excessive government taxation, the recession, and the way the trade is organised are all involved.

Meanwhile we can all help. England expects that every man will do his duty, and when it comes to saving the local pub, I think we all know what that duty involves.


CAMRA has called for planning law changes to stop pubs being demolished or converted to other uses without planning permission. Speaking at a meeting of MPs and Peers organised by the Save the Pub Parliamentary Group, CAMRA called for:

  • a change to planning rules to close the current loophole which allows pubs to be converted to shops, cafes, restaurants or financial services offices without the need for planning permission
  • planning permission to be required before a pub is bulldozed
  • a ban on the use of restrictive covenants which are imposed to prevent closed pubs from ever being reopened
  • national policy guidance to require councils to put policies in place to protect community pubs whether in a rural, suburban or urban location

For more details see www.camra.org.uk


One of the effects of the 2003 Licensing Act was to create uncertainty about what live music was permitted. Unless the music is 'incidental' to the main purpose of the licensed premises a license is needed, but a change to the rules may make things easier for bar owners to put on live music. 'Minor Variations' to the license can now be brought in at a cost of £89 - previously it was £600 to change anything. So if you're a licensee and you think a bit of live music could bring in the customers check with the council licensing department to see if it could work for you.


Dereliction causes vandalism and arson. The Beaufort Arms in Wootton Basset went up in flames in September 2009. (Picture Gazette & Herald)