Sunday, November 25, 2012

Save our Pubs!

closed in July 2010 - still closed
In the latest email from Steve at Local Works we learn that some large Pub companies use restrictive covenants when they have other pubs in the area and don’t want a competitor operating near them. It means that when they sell the pub on it can never reopen as a pub again, which deprives local communities of viable and popular local pubs. So much for the “free market” so beloved of our neo-Liberal establishment.

He cites the Green Man in Guildford which had stood on that spot for over 400 years and was a popular community pub - “Locals would pop in for a pint after work and local sports teams and families would drop in after using the park nearby”. The pub was closed in 2006 [1] having had a restrictive covenent placed upon it and as you can see from this latest piece in the local press there has been strong community opposition to any other proposed use – ie a supermarket.

According to Steve the Green Man is not alone. Over the last 10 years, hundreds of pubs across the country have been lost to these “restrictive covenants.” [2] Many of these were viable pubs that could be up and running right now. But instead many are simply sitting empty, attracting crime and anti-social behaviour.

However, In 2010, as a result of a proposal made under the Sustainable Communities Act, the government agreed to address the problem. There was a huge response to the government consultation that showed overwhelming support for either a national ban on restrictive covenants, or giving local authorities the power to ban them in their areas. But two years on no action has been taken. Well, what a surprise!

The relevant Minister is Brandon Lewis: email or snail mail to Brandon Lewis MP, Department for Communities and Local Government, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU.

We don’t encourage mass pre-formatted email campaigns to ministers or MPs but you are perfectly entitled to contact them and give them your views. You can find your MP here.

See also:

1 Aldi attacked as old pub is bulldozed
2 OFT Response to Super Complaint by the Campaign for Real Ale, 2009


  1. As far as the Dr Johnson is concerned, I'm not surprised it died as it really was a very unnattractive venue, and the changing demographic of the area means there is a much larger number of non-alcohol drinkers in the immediate vicinty.

    It needs some brave entrepreneur to re-invent it as a local events venue, but who has the money to risk nowadays?

    1. "...non-alcohol drinkers...."?

      Really? Didn't realise that part of Redbridge was a Sally Ann stronghold.

  2. Now according to my mother, during the war, the Dr Johnson was the centre of Barkingside social life, upstairs apparently is a large ballroom with the best sprung floor for miles around, and just about everyone used to go to the dances at the Johnston,complete with live bands.Those were the days said my mother.A shame such glory did not continue.