Nominating your pub as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) is one of the most important things you can do to save it. For a quick guide to ACVs, read on…
What does the ACV scheme do?
- Removes from owners the permitted development rights that mean they can change the use of the building or demolish it without permission
- ACV registration is a material planning consideration, which gives the Council additional reasons to reject any proposal involving loss of the pub
- Gives the community the opportunity to bid for the property if it is sold or leased for 25 years or more
- Gives Councils powers of compulsory purchase if the community use of the asset is in danger of being lost
After 23 May 2017, ACV status only needs to do the last three things – permitted development rights allowing change of use without permission are being removed for all pubs, whether or not they hold ACV status.
ACV status is valid for five years and can be renewed.
What does the “right to bid” mean?
If the pub is put on the market, the owner must notify the Council. The Council will then contact the nominating group, which has six weeks to decide whether to put in a bid. If the nominating group decides to bid, a six month moratorium is triggered, giving the community time to arrange the necessary finances. Points to note:
- The six months includes the initial six week decision period
- The owner is not obliged to take any offer tabled by the community. It is a right to bid, not a right to buy. (This is different in Scotland, where the community does have the right to buy)
How do we know if our pub is eligible to be an ACV?
The test that the local authority will use to decide is:
In the opinion of the local authority, does the main use of the building further the social wellbeing or social interests of the community?
OR, for closed pubs
In the opinion of the local authority, is there a time within the recent past where use of the land has furthered the social wellbeing or social interests of the community?
AND (in all cases)
In the opinion of the local authority, is it realistic to think that in the next five years there is a time when there could be a use of the land that furthers the social wellbeing or social interests of the community?
Crucially, this means that even pubs which have recently been closed are still eligible to be nominated.
How do we nominate our pub?
Nominating your pub is very easy and free. Contact your council for a nomination form or download it from their website. The form will take you around 2 hours to complete. You will need either to be an established organisation such as a residents’ group, parish council, charity or company (including a local branch of CAMRA) or an unincorporated group with at least 21 members who are on the electoral roll of the local authority in which the pub is situated or with another demonstrable local connection (such as living in a neighbouring local authority).
Tip: there is no formal requirement for additional evidence of a pub furthering the social wellbeing and social interests of the community, but it is likely to help your case if you can make an application as comprehensive as possible. For example, you could include details of local groups that use the pub, evidence of charitable activities, any sporting clubs that the pub associates itself with etc.
A council has eight weeks in which to decide whether to approve or reject a nomination.
If the nomination is rejected, there is no right of review. However, you can submit another application with more or different information.
If a pub is granted ACV status, its owner can request a review. This is carried out internally by the Council. If the pub remains an ACV, an owner may then formally appeal, at the First Tier tribunal.
Watch this excellent video explaining ACVs and the application process from South Cambs District Council.