Afternoon in Godalming

Godalming Parish Church Bible

Godalming Parish Church Bible

I looked in Godalming Parish Church. A candle lit for my lovely friend Annie.

Then lunch in Café Mila. Excellent mushroom soup, followed by stuffed aubergine. I had intended to pop back later for afternoon tea, but helped set up a blog and then had a cappuccino and a cake.

I had not intended to spend all afternoon in Café Mila.

Walking down the main street, I happened upon a friend. He had been into the Waverley Council offices to look at the plans to convert the Wey Inn to a Tesco. A least I assume it was the Wey Inn, he did not say, if not, then more than one pub is being lost to Tesco.

As I explained to him, planning permission is not required for a change of use from a pub to a supermarket. A serious flaw in the planning rules which should be addressed. But they do have an option, the local council should issue an Article 4 Direction which would quash existing planning consent, forcing a planning application for a Tesco, which hopefully would then be rejected, but the local council for whatever perverse reason is refusing to do so.

Long term, too late for the Wey Inn, the local council must adopt a pub protection policy, as required by national planning policies. I recommended, download and adapt the excellent Cambridge pub protection policy. Maybe look at that in Islington too. The Cambridge planning policy means the pub, if closed, has to be put up for sale as a pub (not for redevelopment), free of pubco ties.

I also suggested consider using the Localisms Act and registering pubs as Asserts of Community Value.

And has the local council got a policy for listing and protecting buildings of local historical importance? If not, why not? Once such a policy is in place, then start listing.

The Tumbledown Dick in Farnborough is another pub under threat. Dating from the 1720s, pre-dating Farnborough, a once popular live music venue, it is now sitting derelict and McDonald’s has applied for planning permission to demolish and turn into a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

Wonders will never cease. The No 71 bus was on time.

Synchronicity: I picked up a copy of Veronika Decides to Die. I then found a tweet from Paulo Coelho.

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