The Government has given the green light to a new planning policy which gives neighbouring Kensington and Chelsea Council powers to protect its local pubs.
Since 1980 there has been a 35 per cent decline in the number of public houses in Kensington and Chelsea, from 168 to 110 today.
Owners of celebrated Chelsea pubs such as the Phene Arms and Cross Keys tried and failed to convert the buildings into multi-million pound residencies complete with subterranean swimming pools.
Now the Royal Borough has the power to stop pubs being converted to residential use where they make an important contribution to the community. Restaurants, caf›s and banks also have an important part to play in local life and these will also be protected.
One of the campaigners for saving Chelsea's pubs Michael Bach said: "We persuaded the Council to change their planning policy on pubs and, in particular, we fought to save The Cross Keys, The Phene and the Queens Head. Having decided to change their policy we must thank the Council for consistently refusing consent for pubs and all of you for helping to secure the appeals being dismissed, whilst we were buying time to get the new policy adopted.
"All of your efforts secured the result. The Council now has an approved policy to be confirmed at the next Council meeting on 16 October. This means that our pubs should be safe from developers wanting to convert them to housing. Now we have to use them to make sure they continue to be the focus of our communities."
Councillor Timothy Coleridge, Cabinet Member for Planning Policy, said: Despite the economic downturn, residential land values in Kensington and Chelsea can command huge sums of money and as such they out compete any other use. This policy seeks to protect those uses that have lower land values, but remain of high value to the community. Over the past thirty years we have seen a significant reduction in the number of pubs in the borough and what we dont want is for people to lose the ability to pop into their local for a pint and a chat."
Read the Inspectors report here - www.rbkc.gov.uk/planningandconservation/planningpolicy.aspx