The Government has said it intends to introduce legislation meaning planning permission would be required to change the use of or demolish a pub listed as an asset of community value (ACV).

The pledge was announced in a written statement from community pubs minister Kris Hopkins just hours before MPs are due to vote on an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill which seeks to tighten planning protection for pubs even further. New Clause 16, presented by the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, would mean any application to convert a pub to retail or office use or demolish it, regardless of whether or not it has ACV status, would need planning permission.

In his statement Hopkins said he wanted to “increase protections to prevent the loss of those pubs that provide the most community benefit” but said blanket legislation would “lead to more empty and boarded up buildings”.

He said: “National permitted development rights are an important part of the planning system; providing flexibility, reducing bureaucracy and allowing the best use to be made of existing buildings. However, the passion for community pubs as demonstrated by the significant numbers listed as Assets of Community Value highlights the need to enable local communities to consider planning applications for the change of use of a pub of particular local value.

“We therefore plan to bring forward secondary legislation at the earliest opportunity so that in England the listing of a pub as an Asset of Community Value will trigger a removal of the national permitted development rights for the change of use or demolition of those pubs that communities have identified as providing the most community benefit. This provides the right balance between protecting valued community pubs, but avoiding blanket regulation which would lead to more empty and boarded up buildings. Blanket regulation could also have adverse consequences on the asset value of pub buildings, harming the financial viability of the pub industry. This Government recognises the economic, environmental and social benefits of allowing redundant buildings to be converted into productive uses without excessive red tape.

“This will mean that in future where a pub is listed as an Asset of Community Value, a planning application will be required for the change of use or demolition of a pub. This then provides an opportunity for local people to comment, and enables the local planning authority to determine the application in accordance with its local plan, any neighbourhood plan, and national policy. The local planning authority may take the listing into account as a material consideration when determining any planning application.”

Referring to the Government’s attempt to introduce a last-minute amendment to the pubs code bill to thwart the move to include a Market Rent Only option, campaigner Val Spencer said: “Like nc42 it looks like a compromise when Government thinks it will lose. We need NC16 to protect pubs please.”