Research done by CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) shows that 13 pubs permanently close each week across the UK. Closer to home, we have lost a quarter of all Wandsworth pubs since 1997. Every time one shuts down, a piece of history and a hub for the community goes with it, so we need to ensure that pubs like the Wheatsheaf in Tooting Bec and the Trafalgar Arms in Tooting Broadway, both of which have been under threat, don't become just another statistic. That's why Dan has taken on a leading campaign role for our local community pubs, holding the following positions:
- Chair of the Tooting Wheatsheaf Supporters
- Campaigns Officer for the Trafalgar Arms Supporters
- Leading the campaign to protect the Selkirk Pub
These campaigns have been very successful and we have achieved the following pub protection measures:
In August 2013 the Council approved Dan's application for the Wheatsheaf to be listed as an Asset of Community Value. This was the first pub in Tooting to achieve this status and more info can be found here. Subsequently we also achieved Local Listing status for the historic fabric of the pub and then in November, Dan led the Save the Wheatsheaf campaign group delegation to Town Hall, where we secured a consultation on granting Article 4 Directions on the pub, giving it additional planning protection. This was implemented by the Council and subsequently in April 2015 permission for a revised development securing the future of the pub was agreed. You can read more about this success here.
In November 2013 we were successful with our application to gain a Community Asset listing for the Trafalgar Arms, which a few months earlier had been bought by a developer and closed. And following our long campaign to prevent the pub being demolished and turned into flats, early in 2015 we were victorious when Young's Brewery successfully purchased the pub and got permission to renovate and reopen it.
Following our success with the above two pubs, I've been looking to proactively list other pubs at risk as Assets of Community Value. The historic Selkirk Pub on Selkirk Road is another of these, being off the high street. It is a real focal point for our community and I was pleased that our campaign for ACV status was also successful in August 2015.
Pub Protection across Wandsworth and England
Dan is a member of CAMRA and well aware that other pubs in Tooting and London more widely are at threat, as rising property prices make it ever more tempting for freeholders to sell their pub site to a property developer, almost regardless of how successful the pub is. That's why Dan is also campaigning for more general measures of protection to be introduced by Wandsworth Council that offer protection to those pubs that play a key role in our local community.
As such, Dan welcomed Wandsworth Council's decision in 2014 to provide additional protection specifically for pubs to the Borough's planning code. This will protect more than 100 pubs scross Wandsworth, preserving them as scoomunity hubs.
The campaign gained national recognition in 2015 when Pubs Minister, Kris Hopkins MP, used the Wheatsheaf as the venue to announce addictional planning protection for all pubs in England which are listed as Assets of Community Value.
This was people power at it's best and shows that where Tooting leads, other's follow!