On Tuesday 29th April 2014, the RBWM Council voted unanimously to pass the following FPAG/CAMRA motion proposed by Cllr George Bathurst:
This council asks that the Government help protect community pubs in England by ensuring that full planning permission and community consultation are required before community pubs are allowed to be converted to betting shops, supermarkets and pay-day loan stores or other uses, or are allowed to be demolished.
The preceding debate included references to the totally ineffectual ACV listings and Article 4 Directions, supposedly created to protect our much-loved pubs from permitted development.
Although it is too late to save the Golden Harp, we truly hope that the Government will change the planning laws to preserve viable pubs, which are both the centre of our communities and part of our national heritage.
Interestingly, the Publicans’ Morning Advertiser reports that: CAMRA votes to stop working with pubcos.
This is a step in the right direction and proof that local democracy can work. We would like to thank everyone who has helped make this happen and supported us in our campaign to save the Harp.
We have received a letter from Cllr Derek Wilson (Chairman of Maidenhead Development Control Panel), providing some insight into the Council’s decision to refuse an Article 4, despite 48-1 in favour at the Council meeting on 23rd April. There appear to be two main reasons behind the decision:
“An Article 4 direction was not an available option as the applicant had already demonstrated clear intent to change the use of the premises. It was therefore too late for the Council to serve an Article 4 direction.”
We dispute this, as although Tesco have “commenced works to prepare the building for a permitted change” (i.e. they have ripped out the interior of the Harp), the change of use has not yet occurred – it’s not trading as a shop; it’s a boarded-up ex-pub.
In addition, Tesco currently has six planning applications pending consideration – these relate to replacing existing grass with hard-standing, installation of a shop-front, signage, a cash machine and so on. Without these, they will not be able to open a store, so please write to the planning department objecting to these proposals!
“The Panel also considered the risk of a significant compensation claim from Tesco Stores or the freeholder[...] The Panel [...] was not prepared to take the risk of a significant compensation payment.”
Is it right that big business can win against local residents by threatening to claim significant amounts of money in ‘compensation’? Tesco were aware of the strong local opposition to an Express store at the Golden Harp – shouldn’t they have taken this into consideration before spending money on the site?
We urge you to write to Brandon Lewis, Community Pubs Minister, (firstname.lastname@example.org), and our MP, Theresa May (email@example.com), to express your views on this Article 4 decision.
We had a great turnout for the Development Control Panel meeting last night, and a strong presentation from our legal representative.
Unfortunately, we are told that, after a very lengthy and late debate, the Panel concluded not to issue the Article 4 directive. We are awaiting clarification as to the basis for this outcome, but understand the decision was unanimous.
Obviously this is not the outcome we wanted but we will continue to fight with what we’ve got, with or without the Council’s support.
Cllr Wilson (Panel Chairman) said: “We are in total sympathy with the residents of the area and are frustrated about the impact on a historic corner of Maidenhead, including traffic and safety concerns. But, along with countless other areas countrywide, we find ourselves up against a situation which, although unwanted by the local community, is completely legal – we will be taking this issue to government. A better way needs to be found, both for Furze Platt residents and all the other communities in a similar situation.”
RBWM press release
Maidenhead Advertiser article
Please come along and support us at the Development Control Panel meeting on Wednesday 8th May at the Town Hall, Maidenhead.
Please note that there has been a change of time, and we will now be meeting at 8:15pm.
At the meeting, the Panel will consider imposing an Article 4 Direction, which would require Tesco to apply for full planning consent.
This will provide us with the opportunity to:
- Protect our children from Tesco traffic
- Save the Post Office and local shops
- Save the Golden Harp and make it a genuine community pub
A message from Mark Newcombe, Chairman of the Furze Platt Action Group:
The Council voted 48-1 to refer the Article 4 Direction to the next DCP Meeting on the 8th May 2013. Another step towards ensuring that Tesco have to submit a Full Planning Application.
We seem to have the backing of the full Council in our David and Goliath struggle. Cllr Bursnall, the UKIP member from Clewer East, was the only one to oppose the vote. Not surprising, as he is the Property Developer responsible for demolishing the Bricklayers Arms recently!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all their hard work thus far. It was an honour to represent the people of Furze Platt on such an important occasion. The hundred or so supporters in the room, with their campaign badges, certainly made it easier for Nadeem and I to deliver our speeches in front of the Mayor and the assembled Councillors.
We need to move forward now to meet the challenge of the next stage.
Watch this space