New laws 'can protect Sheffield pubs from closure'

A campaign is attempting to save The Plough in Sandygate
A campaign is attempting to save The Plough in Sandygate
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New legislation should be used to protect Sheffield pubs from closure, it has been claimed.

The Liberal Democrat group on Sheffield Council is calling for the authority to take similar steps to Wandsworth Council in London which has told the owners of 120 bars and pubs they have to seek approval before changing the use of their buildings or allowing them to be demolished.

It means valued local venues in the London borough can no longer be converted into mini-supermarkets, estate agents, homes or shops without the need for planning permission.

The Lib Dems say 68 pubs have closed in Sheffield since 2011 and are highlighting the issue as part of an ongoing campaign to prevent The Plough in Sandygate from being turned into a Sainsbury's store.

The issue is to be debated at a full meeting of Sheffield Council next week following a motion being put forward by Councillor Adam Hanrahan, which notes Sheffield is 'world famous' for its pubs and real ales and was recently named by the New York Times as the beer capital of Britain.

Coun 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.”

Last month, Wandsworth Council said its use of so-called Article 4 Directions could be 'copied up and down the country to help defend the nation’s vulnerable pub trade'.

Deputy council leader Jonathan Cook said: “I very much hope that other councils will follow our lead by adopting pub-friendly planning policies and then stripping away permitted development rights from their local inns, bars and taverns.

"This could be a real turning point for our nation’s superb but vulnerable pub trade and Wandsworth is more than ready to share its approach with other authorities.”

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