Whilst these links were correct when written, organisations change and re-organise their websites frequently. Please help others and email us if you discover anything wrong.
Saving Your Local Pub
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 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Much of the information pack's content is summarised below (but could be out of date here - refer to the recent CAMRA guide to be sure).
Useful Links to Help Save Your Local
- National CAMRA Site - Save Our Pubs - also search for "Community Pub Ownership".
- Pub is the Hub
- Search Planning Applications:
- CAMRA & LGiU Guide to Saving Pubs - LGiU - a not-for-profit membership organisation and think tank concerned with Local Government.
- Bristol Pubs Group guides:
- If Your Pub is Under Threat: Guide to what to think about - Tim Belsten 2012.
- Reacting to Pub Closures Questionnaire-style form to get started and log the issues.
- Protecting The Pub Guidance for anyone involved in a campaign to save a pub threatened with closure or damaging alteration - CAMRA 2012.
- CAMRA ACV Guide ACV (Assets of Community Value) CAMRA Workshop 2015 .
- Houseway House (PDF) Article about creating a Community Pub - The Tippler Autumn 2012.
- You Tube Song & Video - Pubs Hold the Answer
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 (e.g. 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.
Possible Ways of Protecting Your Local
Try for a Historic England Listing
If the owner wishes to demolish a listed building, or alter or extend it in a way that affects its character or appearance, 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 Historic England to have your local listed, however, their judging criteria are strict. Their website describes how buildings become listed.
Try for a Local Listing
If you pub does not qualify for a Historic England 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 redevelopment a more involved/longer process, which may put off potential buyers of your local.
Bristol City Council's website explains how they deal 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.
Try to list your local as an Asset of Community Value
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 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 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 page and a section 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 councils have webpages on Asset of Community Value (also described as Community Right to Bid). You can download the relevant forms from the following web pages:
Persuade the local Council to apply an Article 4 Direction to the pub.
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.
Persuade the local Council to compulsory purchase the pub.
This is mostly a theoretical option, as most local councils have to make financial cuts, due to central government cuts in funding.
London Drinker ArticleThis article on Listing pubs as Assets of Community Value was in the Dec 2012 / Jan 2013 issue of the London Drinker: