The Hereford Times says...

HEREFORDSHIRE Council’s decision to block for the second time plans to turn a beautiful country pub into homes should be welcomed by all those who treasure a great British institution.

The owner of the Cliffe Arms, near Mathon, has reportedly refused offers to sell the pub as a going concern.

But planners turned down his scheme to develop the site, saying he had not provided enough evidence that it was no longer a viable business.

Thanks goodness for that!

We have much sympathy for landlords. Many are struggling to cope with both a general downturn in pub-going and the devastating effect on their trade of coronavirus restrictions.

RELATED NEWS: No go for plan to convert country pub

But all around the country others – despite having sustainable businesses – are being tempted by rising property prices to sell up to housing developers.

There are some rules that prohibit this, and they have been applied in the case of the Cliffe Arms. But they are too weak.

Some pubs are rightly considered community assets. They may have served local people for generations, and be capable of doing so for years to come.

In taking them on their owners should accept that they have stewardship of something of great value to others: something that should not be cashed in for an easy return on investment.

Pubs need greater legal protection now... before it is too late!

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