Derbyshire campaigners and MP voice frustration after plan to protect pubs is scuppered


Campaigners and a Derbyshire MP have told of their frustration after a measure designed to protect community pubs was scuppered.

Last week, MPs voted on an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill, which would require planning permission to be sought before demolishing or converting a pub into a supermarket or other retail premises.

The proposal won the backing of 245 MPs, including North East Derbyshire MP Engel, but was defeated as 295 MPs voted against the plan.

Ms Engel’s disappointment is shared by drinkers campaigning to save the Wellington, in New Whittington, which has been earmarked by a property firm to be converted into a supermarket.

Ms Engel said: “The Wellington is an important part of the local economy in New Whittington and, in spite of this set back, I’ll be continuing to campaign for the premises to remain a pub.”

Viky Muddiman, leader of the Save Our Welly campaign group, said: “We’re pleased Natascha voted for this proposal but really disappointed it didn’t get enough support to be written into law.

“Pubs are part of the fabric of our communities. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

“The locals campaigning to save community pubs like the Wellington don’t have the know-how or the lobbying expertise of the big property firms and supermarkets – we need the Government to stand up for us.”

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) campaign group has revealed that 29 pubs are closing each week in the UK.

Tim Page, CAMRA chief executive, said: “It is currently possible to convert a pub into a betting shop, pay-day loan store or supermarket without the need for planning permission, making it far too easy for pubs valued by the community to be lost without local people having a say.

“Given the huge contribution that pubs make to community life in Britain we believe this cannot be right.”