Protect your pubs as an asset of community value22nd July 2016
Local communities in Southampton now have the opportunity to nominate public and private buildings or land to be included on the Assets of Community Value Register.
An Asset of Community Value (ACV) is a listing placed upon a building or land which gives the right for interested community groups to register it as being ‘vitally important to the wellbeing of the local community’. This listing gives the group a period of up to 6 weeks to declare interest in purchasing the asset, and a further 6 months in which to assemble a bid in the event that the building is put up for sale by the owner.
The listing can also be used when deciding a planning application as it shows the level of importance placed upon the building by the local community. The listing removes ‘permitted development rights’, meaning that a pub, for example, cannot be converted to a shop without the need for planning permission.
The right for communities to list buildings as ACVs has come about due to a national dissatisfaction over the loss of key local services such as pubs, local stores, church halls and even skate parks. This legislation attempts to help communities protect their local services.
ACVs can only be nominated by groups with a genuine connection to the community; individuals cannot nominate them. The listing only comes into play when the existing owner decides to put it up for sale. Buildings can be nominated as an ACV if its current use:
• furthers the social wellbeing of the community
• can realistically be expected to continue to be used in the function in which it is listed
• does not fall within one of the exemptions – residential development etc.
The groups listed as eligible to register an asset in Southampton are:
• local community interest groups
• Neighbourhood Forums
• A charity (With registered charity number)
• Unincorporated groups with 21 members registered to vote in Southampton or adjacent local authority – these groups are presently eligible to list an ACV, but not to bid for an ACV.
In order for an interested group to list a building as an ACV, they must submit an application with a description of the nominated land, as well as the names of the people currently in possession of the land and the reasons why the land is considered to be of community value. After the application to list a building as an ACV, the council has 8 weeks to process the application and make a judgement on whether the application should stand.
Leader of Southampton City Council, Councillor Simon Letts said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local groups in our city to protect the community assets that really matter to them. In recent years, we have seen a regrettable trend of local pubs closing across the UK. By allowing community groups in Southampton to nominate these local hubs as Assets of Community Value we hope this will allow future generations of people to continue to enjoy these facilities.”
Kevin Wooton, Secretary of South Hampshire CAMRA Branch said: "Pubs achieve ACV status by local people coming together and listing the pub as an asset. It is a badge of honour, a mark of quality and a clear sign that locals value the pub. With pub closure figures remaining high, and new figures showing 21 pubs are lost each week, it's even more vital that pubs are given protection by the Council and that communities are given a say before they are demolished or converted.
CAMRA will welcome any new initiative from Southampton City Council that will protect pubs and will look forward to working with them.'
Cllr Simon Letts