Action is being taken to ensure that everyone in the borough has a ‘local’ within a 10-minute walk.
Hyndburn council proposals will see it made more difficult for pubs to be sold, demolished and turned into housing.
The intention is to retain public houses for the communities around them for future generations in the midst of an ongoing decline in the number of public houses.
Oswaldtwistle County Coun Peter Britcliffe said he welcomed the draft ‘Development Management Development Plan Document’ proposal - which comes after a number of landmark pubs in his division have closed.
He said: “This year in Oswaldtwistle we have been hit very badly - the Rose and Crown has been sold and turned into flats, and that has set off a chain reaction with other pubs being closed.
“I think pubs are very important, like churches they are part of the social fabric and this plan will hopefully help to arrest any further decline and give pubs a better chance of survival.”
Under the new measures, change of use or demolition planning applications relating to the pub will only be approved if the applicant can show that the building has been marketed as a pub at the market rate for 12 consecutive months.
In addition they must show that the pub is either no longer considered economically viable, or that the loss would not leave a shortfall of provision in the area.
The council considers a ‘shortfall’ of provision to be where no other facility is available within ‘a reasonable walking distance’ - 10 minutes or approximately half a mile away. The council also says they will support groups in registering public houses as Assets of Community Value - which could pave the way for community takeovers of pubs, in the wake of the success of the Dog Inn at Belthorn which is Lancashire’s first community-owned free house.
At Hyndburn’s full council meeting, Rishton councillor Jeff Scales backed the scheme.
He said: “It puts a block on the sale of the building for six months to allow organisations that might want to take it on to put in a bid. It does stop that incredibly quick, ‘before you know it it’s no longer a pub’, situation.
“Any sort of constituted community group with a membership can do this with the cooperation of the council.”
Public to have their say on proposals
Council bosses are asking people to have their say on a new planning document which will help shape the future of building in Hyndburn.
The ‘Development Management Development Plan Document’ will form the third pillar of the local plan for the borough.
It will sit alongside the Core Strategy and Accrington Area Action Plan – policies that have already been adopted by the council. The document sets out the detailed planning policies to be used by council planning officers and members of planning committee in determining planning applications for the borough.
The new proposals will replace the planning policies implemented in 1996, and will shape how the borough develops for the next two decades – including decisions on the local economy and town centres, community infrastructure, housing, the environment, accessibility and transport and rural issues. The draft plan is out for public consultation for a period of six weeks until 5pm on Thursday, November 10.
A spokesperson said: “This is a final opportunity to comment on the document before it is submitted to the planning inspectorate for independent examination.”
Plan documents are available to view on the council website and hard copies can be viewed in libraries and at the council offices at Scaitcliffe House in Accrington.