Central England Co-op approach to pub developments

 Approach to pub developments 

Central England Co-operative is a successful, independent, community-based co-operative business owned and controlled by its members. We are a modern, forward looking business employing 8,500 people and operate more than 400 trading outlets across 16 counties in Central England. 
We are proud of our heritage, which dates back over 160 years, and have grown to become one of the largest and most successful co-operatives in the UK. Our colleagues are at the heart of our business and make a positive difference in the communities they serve. 
Central England Co-operative and CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) have engaged to agree a set of principles about how both organisations currently intend to work together on matters of mutual interest. These key principles are founded upon Central England Co-operative’s commitment to have a positive impact on communities – making the local area a better place to live and work. Central England Co-operative and CAMRA recognise the importance to communities of retaining viable pubs that add real value to their local community. But we both also recognise that not every pub can be retained in pub use and ultimately some pubs are not viable. These principles about development on sites adjacent to pubs or on sites of former pubs relate to any new legal agreements with developers and property owners where negotiations for a legal contract are commenced after 1 July, 2018.
These principles do not relate to those sites where Central England Co-operative has existing obligations through legal contract or where negotiations for a legal contract have already commenced.

 Key Principles 
1. As a co-operative business, underpinned by democratic governance models, Central England Co-operative supports the local authority led process which enables communities to have a say on proposed developments. Where appropriate to the particular circumstances and where Central England Co-operative is developing the relevant property itself then Central England Co-operative intend to seek planning permission for conversions and/or rebuilds of existing pubs rather than relying on permitted development rights for conversion to retail use. Where appropriate and where Central England Co-operative will not be commercially disadvantaged we will attempt to encourage developers that we are working with in relation to such sites to seek to utilise the planning process. 
2. Central England Co-operative will give appropriate consideration to the social value of any trading pub that it is offered as a lease or development opportunity as part of any individual assessment of that site prior to entering a legally binding agreement to develop the site. 
3. Central England Co-operative will give appropriate consideration to any existing status of a pub as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) when considering any potential development site.
4. Once Central England Co-operative has entered into a legal agreement to acquire or develop a new site that is a trading pub it will seek to make information on its intentions available as soon as is reasonably and commercially possible, having due regard to any planning process to be undertaken. Central England Co-operative will thereafter seek to be as open and honest about its plans for the site as commercially possible. Central England Co-operative will attempt to listen to the views of the local community at the appropriate time – individuals, groups (including CAMRA Branches), and local elected representatives and where appropriate be willing to meet appropriate local representatives to discuss concerns. 
5. Central England Co-operative welcomes the significant growth of pubs that are owned and run as co-operatives and the efforts by CAMRA and others, such as the Plunkett Foundation, to encourage community ownership. 
6. When Central England Co-operative is itself developing land adjacent to an existing pub then, so far as reasonably possible, it will give appropriate consideration to the future viability of both the existing pub and the new convenience store so far as any measures would not lead to Central England Co-operative being commercially disadvantaged. 
7. CAMRA accepts that there will be circumstances where Central England Co-operative will not be able to adhere to the principles referred to in this statement of intent. These will include circumstances where Central England Co-operative are seeking to preserve existing jobs and/or where there could be a commercial disadvantage resulting to Central England Co-operative. The content of this statement does not constitute a promise by, or obligation on, Central England Cooperative to do or not do something and nothing in this statement is intended to be binding on Central England Cooperative or create legal relations between Central England Co operative and CAMRA.