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Lib Dems launch a ‘Save Our Pubs’ campaign
RESIDENTS will be urged this week to register their local pubs as community assets as part of a new bid to help keep them open.
Following research by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, which showed 26 pubs across the country were closing every week, the Liberal Democrat group for York has launched a Save Our Pubs campaign.
A motion will be put to this week’s City of York Council meeting to back the campaign, which urges the authority to help protect pubs under planning legislation.
The motion also seeks to encourage residents to register their local as an Asset of Community Value, which will give them a better chance to buy the pub if it is put up for sale.
Coun Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat leader for York, said: “Good local pubs are worth fighting for. They can be the hub of a community or village, especially in areas which have lost their post office or shop. York has a thriving pub and brewery scene, but we need to do everything we can to support it.
“At the moment, pubs can easily be converted into a wide range of uses without planning permission. We think planning permission and community consultation should be required before any pubs are allowed to be converted to betting shops, supermarkets, pay-day loan stores or other uses, or are allowed to be demolished.”
The motion will also ask for beer tax to be frozen to encourage people to visit their local pub rather than buy cheap alcohol from supermarkets.
Kevin Keavney, from CAMRA, said: “It’s about raising awareness for people who might not be active pub users, or those who use it maybe once or twice a month, who only start to panic when the pub closes. It’s something that brings the community together.
“We very much support this because it is very much what we’re working towards now. We’re lobbying at Parliamentary level and local government level to get councils to make use of all the legislation possibilities. It’s there, it just needs to be used.
Labour councillor Steve Burton said: “Labour welcomes the new awareness of the importance in saving our local pubs.
“When I stood for election in Westfield I campaigned to save the White Rose pub from demolition.
“The Conservative Liberal Democrat Government had a chance to change the law to help landlords struggling with extortianate pub ties, but they instead listened to the drinks industry lobby.”
Paul Matson, of the Old Ebor off Nunnery Lane, said he welcomed the idea, as his pub is one of the establishments going for Community Asset status.
He said: “We would support it. We’ve lost too many good pubs. Community pubs which are proper locals like ours are dying out.”
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