Once upon a time there was a tavern…

I learned with sadness that the campaign of some determined people in modern to save the Morden Tavern from the “developers” has failed. After a two year fight the Morden Tavern, a building of historic interest failed to persuade the planning inspector that the old pub should be preserved for those who live in modern, instead of being turned into residential property. The St Helier Pub Group failed to persuade their elected council and the planning inspector that the Modern Tavern should be preserved.

The pub was not a bit of old England, nor did it have a famous history, but for the people that used it, the pub was important, and English pubs are important, as a place to meet, exchange ideas, gossip and have some beers.  You can find out about the unsuccessful struggle to keep the pub as a public house at http://sthelierpubgroup.blogspot.co.uk/

In England and Wales we probably have one of the tightest planning systems in the world. I heard the chairman of IKEA complain that the planning system prevented  IKEA from build as many stores as they would have wished to build, so there are advantages and disadvantages in a tough planning system. However, in the long run developers usually win, except in Green Belt land, because the job of the planning system is to balance the competing needs of society. Society needs pubs, but as it grows it also needs housing, the provision of new jobs, while also endeavouring to protect the environment.

These needs of society are in competition with each other. In Morden the housing trumps a pub and no more will we sing “there is a tavern in the town, and there my dear love sits him down” but rather “once upon a time there was a tavern”.