The Campaign for Real ale (Camra) has hit out at the planning system for allowing pubs to be converted to convenience stores without applying for permission, but not from c-stores to pubs.

The conversions from pubs to shops are covered by what are known as General Permitted Development Rights.

“The lack of protection for pubs is a glaring anomaly in the English planning system which needs to be corrected,” said Camra head of communications Tom Stainer.

“It is surely not right that a supermarket convenience store is given greater planning protection than a valued community pub.”

The rules undermined the listing of pubs as Assets of Community Value, designed to help communities retain valued assets by providing an opportunity to bid for the property if the owner intends to sell, Camra argued.

James Lowman, CEO of the Association of Convenience Stores, expressed a degree of sympathy for Camra’s arguments but said pubs that were converted were often derelict. He added the planning system should support businesses that wanted to change in line with ­consumer needs.