Public House Viability Test

Guidance for local authorities, public house owners pub house users and planning inspectors to scrutinise and test the viability of a pub.

Download here Public House Viability Test

Pubs across England are under threat as never before. Despite both the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and many Local Plans containing pub protection policies, an estimated 29 pubs permanently close every week. In many cases, the owners of these threatened pubs are seeking to convert them to other uses to make a short-term profit at the expense of the interests and needs of the local community.

As campaigners on behalf of British pub-goers, CAMRA sees the protection of public houses as one of its highest priorities. While not all pubs can be saved, too many pubs are being lost even where there is strong local support to keep them. Many of the pubs that have called last orders for the final time could have continued serving their local communities in the right hands. For local residents and pub campaigners, the planning process is the main opportunity to influence decisions affecting the future of their local pub. With recent legislation to strengthen Assets of Community Value (ACVs), planning permission is now needed before any nominated pub can be demolished or converted to another use, giving local people even more of a say

Applicants hoping to change the use of a pub will very often claim that the pub is “not viable”, meaning that no licensee could reasonably be expected to make a living from it. The applicants might claim that the area has too many pubs, the premises are too small, the catchment area is not large enough and so on. The local planning authority has to evaluate whether these claims are well founded or not. Below you will find a standard, objective test which will assist planning decision makers to make fair, open and informed judgements on the question of viability.