Dr Liam Fox to speak at Portishead Business Breakfast
By Prue_Reid | Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 11:05
NORTH Somerset MP Liam Fox will be the guest speaker at the next Portishead Business Breakfast.
Liam Fox MP
The early morning event is on Friday, March 1, from 7.30-9.15am at Hall and Woodhouse, Chandlery Square, Portishead.
This week the MP waded into the planning row about what to do with vacant pubs.
Dr Fox has demanded tougher planning rules to make it harder for supermarkets to take over closed down pubs.
He has written to Communities minister Eric Pickles complaining that a former pub site in his North Somerset constituency is about to be turned into a Tesco supermarket.
Supermarket giants are snapping up pub sites across the region after finding it harder to gain planning permission for larger, out-of-town, greenfield sites.
They convert the pubs into convenience stores, and one such scheme in Portishead will see a closed-down pub converted to a Tesco Metro store.
Store bosses exploit planning rules which give a presumption in favour of what is in planning law a nominal change of use from pub to shop, but Dr Fox told Mr Pickles the rules should be tighter.
"Planning permission would be given to Tesco on the basis that it does not represent a change of use," he said.
"Most people would see this as a fundamental change of purpose and feel the presumption in planning law is wrong," he added.
Fellow Tory MP and current Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has joined with Dr Fox – he is supporting residents fighting a similar scheme in his constituency in Surrey.
A spokesman for the Local Government department said it was up to local councils to plan for what pubs could be used for if or when they close.
It has been widely reported that the former defence minister will rejoin the cabinet soon.
The good doctor who voted against gay marriage calling it 'divisive and wrong' in the recent parliamentary debate and has been staunchly pro a referendum to renegotiate EU membership terms once dubbed Portishead 'the biggest cul-de-sac in Europe'.
He made a keynote anti EU speech this month only days before the PM David Cameron made a similar announcement.
Locally his biggest success of late has been his vocal defence of our countryside against National Grid proposals to plant huge pylons around North Somerset and he is also known to oppose a Severn Barrage.
There will be a chance at the business meeting to network and tips from members in the new 'advice in five' slot.
Tickets are £12 for members and £15 for non-members and can be booked by emailing email@example.com.
Portishead Chamber of Commerce supports the local business community and among its aims are:To encourage and support new businesses to locate in Portishead;
- To be the focal point and voice of Portishead businesses; and
- To support the wider Portishead community.
It also makes charitable donations to good causes in Portishead and wants to increase its membership this year.
It has its own website and LinkedIn group.