Permanent measures to keep pub doors open need to be introduced now, according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), as it marks 2,000 campaigning groups across England successfully listing their local pub as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).
Since legislation was introduced in May 2015 which removed Permitted Development Rights from pubs nominated as ACVs, community groups have spent countless hours fighting tooth and nail to ensure their locals are registered, and are therefore subjected to the regular planning application process. Without being registered, pubs can be demolished or converted overnight without public consultation.
ACVs can be granted on any building that has a proven strong community focus, but pubs have had by far the biggest take up from local communities. Out of just under 4,000 ACVs on building such as libraries, community centres, post offices, half of them have been granted for pubs.
CAMRA is calling on the Government to cut out this frustrating process, which puts a huge burden on local communities and councils, who deal with this lengthy and clunky procedure. Instead, they believe that placing pubs in a class of their own so that owners must always seek planning permission before converting or demolishing a local will provide permanent security for locals.
Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s National Chairman says: “It is heartening that so many communities across England have spent so much time going through the process of nominating their pub as an Asset of Community Value. This shows a huge appetite for protecting pubs, which are more than just businesses – they are invaluable landmarks in our communities.
Unfortunately, the ACV process can be time-consuming, fraught with difficulties and at the end of the day is only a temporary measure – listings must be renewed every five years to maintain protection. It simply doesn’t make sense that pub-goers have to jump through these extra hoops when it is clear that so many communities overwhelmingly want a say on the future of their much-loved pub. All we are asking for a level playing field where a planning application on a pub has to go through the full planning process.”