In proposals published last week, the House of Lords’ committee has called for the introduction of an agent-of-change principle as part of its recommendations for the overhaul of the Licensing Act.
The principle would indicate a victory for longstanding pubs and other such venues, for it means that any person or business that causes a change in the local environment is responsible for managing its impact.
The benefit for pub owners is clear. Such provisions would seek to put an end to the closure of premises as a result of complaints from new-build housing near them. Such gains come on the back of recent changes to planning permissions that went a way to further securing the existence of pubs in local communities.
Both the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) have put their support behind the Lords’ recommendation.
BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said: “Where you have pubs that have been at the heart of their communities for decades, it has always been unfair for them to face unreasonable complaints from residents in newbuild flats and houses nearby.
“An agent-of-change principle, in both planning and licensing guidance, would redress the balance and place the onus on the developer to ensure that new builds don’t disrupt established pubs and other businesses.”
Such recommendation come in the wider context of a complete review of the act, which was noted to be “fundamentally flawed and needs major overhaul,” by Baroness McIntosh, who chaired the inquiry.