A fantastic article highlighting a reasonably common battle ground - empty public houses framed as a development opportunity.  Pubs are closing at record rates - CAMRA have an ongoing "Save our Pubs" campaign to cling on to businesses that are often at the heart of a local community.  The Government has also listened - permitted development rights have been withdrawn, meaning that full planning permission will be required.

However, there can be no doubt that such properties can be thoughtfully and sensitively redeveloped - though, as in this instance, local engagement is absolutely vital.  

It is also interesting to see enforcement powers hailed as a force for good - often they are dismissed as overly negative, or empty threats that a Council will not follow up on. Perhaps this may give Councils the confidence to utilise many of the other powers at their disposal (both enforcement and otherwise) to help positively shape their communities.