As mentioned last time, a major problem is that the City Council has no planning policies which specifically protect community facilities like pubs. This makes it difficult for them to resist planning applications to change their use.
We met recently with representatives of the Planning Department and they were sympathetic to the points we made about the desirability of developing suitable policies (which some other authorities such as Chelmsford and Merton already have). Unfortunately, the road to policy change in local government is a long and tortuous one. The City Council is at an early stage of producing a new set of Development Control Policies against which planning applications will be determined. Consultations on the proposals will not happen before next autumn and it will be late 2011 or even into 2012 before any new policies come into force. Who knows how many city pubs will have been lost by then?