If your local pub is threatened with closure or damaging alteration and you want to do something about it, we hope this guidance will help and inform you. CAMRA provides a support and advice pack on the practicalities of campaigning to save a pub, which provides in-depth support and advice, options available, and how to use the planning system to combat unwanted change.
Although the guide looks at how to fight attempted closures, the same basic approaches and tactics apply if the threats are of a lesser but still unwanted kind, such as proposals for major alterations that would spoil the pub's character. On the referenced page, check out the numerous other links to useful campaign support material.
Much of the information pack's content is summarised below (but could be out of date here - refer to the recent CAMRA guide to be sure).
You can submit written or on-line objections to planning applications for converting your local to other uses. You can try to persuade local residents, community groups, neighbourhood partnerships, councillors (parish and district) and your MP to object also. These objections will be taken into account when the planning application is considered.
Planning permission is needed for a change of use from a pub to houses/flats or for alterations to the appearance of a building (eg adding ATMs, signage, outlets for air conditioning ...). However planning permission is not needed for change of use of a pub to a supermarket (or shop or restaurant). This anomaly means pub conversions to supermarkets are difficult to oppose. ( Steve Comer's note sets out the position in a lot more detail.)
If your local changes hands and is then shut, the new owner does not need planning permission to demolish the pub. (He/she needs to notify the council of the demolition for Health and Safety reasons - pollution it may cause, access requirements etc). However he/she will need planning permission for the replacement building.
If the owner wishes to demolish a (English Heritage) listed building, or alter or extend it in a way that affects its character or appearance as a building of special architectural or historic interest, then the owner must first apply for listed building consent from the local planning authority. This greatly limits what the developers can do with the property and adds to the redevelopment costs.
You can apply to English Heritage to have your local listed. However their judging criteria are strict. Their website describes how buildings become listed.
If you pub does not qualify for an English Heritage listing, it may be eligible for a local listing. If the owner wishes to demolish a local listed building, then he/she must apply for planning permission to do so. This you gives an opportunity to oppose the change at an earlier stage and increases the chances of success. It also makes the revedevelopment a more involved/longer process, which may put off potential buyers of your local.
This webpage describes how Bristol City Council is dealing with local listing. If you can't find a similar webpage on your local authority's website, you should phone/E Mail your council's Conservation department.
Communities can request through their council, certain types of properties to be registered as 'Assets of Community Value' (ACVs). This can apply to pubs, schools and libraries to name just a few examples. Such places - such as pubs can be vital facilities which benefit the neighbourhood's community. This practice was introduced under the Localism Act 2011.
The advantage of registering a place - such as a pub - as an ACV is if put up for sale, the party ('a community interest group') who nominated it has to be informed so they can put in a bid to purchase it. If they then declare an interest, the sale has to be put on hold for a period to allow them to put together a financial plan for funding for funding the purchase.
To be clear, the community interest group is under NO obligation to make a bid for the property. They do have a period of up to six months though, in which to plan how to fund such a purchase whilst the owner suspends any further action on its sale.
Another advantage of being an ACV is it can protect the property in regard of planning applications.
There is an article from London Drinker on Listing Assets as Pubs of Community Value at the bottom of this webpage and a webpage on this subject on the National CAMRA website. You can download a summary leaflet "CAMRA Guide to Nominating Pubs as Assets of Community Value" from that webpage plus template forms for nominating a property as an ACV and guidance on details to include.
Please note the national approach is: "nominations to list pubs as assets of community value can be accepted from any group of at least 21 local people who appear on the electoral roll within the local authority, or a neighbouring local authority." However Bristol City Council are checking: "on the electoral roll at the address given, which must be within the local authority."
Local council's have webpages on Asset of Community Value (also described as Community Right to Bid). You can download the relevant forms from the following webpages:
If an Article 4 Direction is applied to the pub, then planning permission is needed before the pub can be demolished. This you gives an opportunity to oppose the change at an earlier stage and increases the chances of success. It also makes the re-development a more involved/longer process, which may put off potential buyers of your local. However this power is infrequently used by local authorities.
This is mostly a theoretical option, as most local councils have to make financial cuts, due to central government cuts in funding.
London Drinker Article
This article on Listing pubs as Assets of Community Value was in the Dec 2012 / Jan 2013 issue of the London Drinker:-
Links to other Pages