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ACV's - What have they achieved?

14 March 2017Advice & Guides Topics: Agency, Development & Alternative Use, Pubs & Bars

The success or otherwise of ACVs is far from clear.

The argument for, is demonstrated by the George at Hudswell, North Yorkshire, which recently won the CAMRA Award for Pub of the Year, and by all the other community groups who have been successful in purchasing their local pub.

The Plunkett Foundation believes there have been between 90 and 100 "Community Groups" who have been successful to date. They should know because they have supported the application of all 48 who have had true co-operative ownership. To date the Plunkett Foundation has only offered business support, but they are currently running a new fund 'More Than a Pub' which provides feasibility funding for groups in the process of taking over their pub, and grant and loan finance to assist with the purchase.

Putting aside the question of the long term viability of these pubs in Community ownership, "saving" even a handful of pubs by community purchase, has to be applauded.

The argument against is that countless owners of ACV listed pubs are complaining about the validity of the listing, the effect on saleability, the effect on value and the growing number who are seeking compensation for costs and loss in value. This case was set out very forcefully by solicitor Mark Brown of Freeths in January this year (https://hospitalitylaw.co.uk/2017-beginning-end-acv-pub-nominations/) where he reports that appeals for compensation running into millions of pounds are progressing through the courts.

If the proposed changes to permitted development rights are confirmed into law, and as a result, planning permission is needed to change the use of a pub to any other use, or to demolish it, then the purpose of an ACV listing will be diluted.

If, at the same time, Councils are being forced into expensive legal battles, resource allocation and ultimately compensation payments, then they will surely become a lot more reluctant to approve ACV applications in the future.

Maybe as Mark Brown suggests this is the beginning of the end for ACV's.

 

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Author

Simon Hall

Simon Hall

Director & Head of Agency

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