This Assembly recognises that public houses are important community assets that cater to a broad clientele with a diverse range of needs. They are hubs of communities where people gather with friends, enjoy a family lunch at the weekend, and run into neighbours for a chat. Pubs also often provide affordable community space where community groups meet and otherwise act as anchors of the local community.
Yet these stalwarts of the high street are under threat. Across the country, pubs are closing at a rate of 26 a week, with London’s public houses being amongst the hardest hit.
This Assembly therefore welcomes the new guidance in the draft London Plan alterations which recognises for the first time “the important role that London's public houses can play in the social fabric of communities” and encourages local authorities to adopt policies to maintain, manage, and enhance public houses, as well as the new policy wording which encourages boroughs to develop policies to prevent their loss. However, the London Plan must be strengthened further if local authorities are to be given the additional tools to protect threatened pubs through their own local planning policies. The Plan must include additional policies which set out a clear inclination to retain pubs, such as a presumption against change of use where a developer is unable to meet strict criteria for the marketing and viability of the site.
This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor of London to revise his Further Alterations to the London Plan to include further guidance for local authorities to promote and protect pubs.