Protecting Southwark’s Pubs – Listing Your Local as an Asset of Community Value

Assets of Community Value

One of the ways to give some protection to places like a pub is to apply to have it listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). This right was created under the Localism Act 2011. There are two main benefits of such a listing – a) if the freehold come up for sale, the organisation that obtained the listing must be offered a chance to work up a bid to buy it (if it wishes to) and b) if the owner of the property wants to change its usage that change of use has to go through the formal planning process.

To be designated an asset, it must further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community. Each local authority considers all nominations on this basis and publishes a list of successful sites.  

For fuller details click here.

With lots of pubs in Southwark still being sold by pub companies and owners in order to be to be knocked down and turned into residential properties, getting ahead of the game and getting a pub asset listed can give the community a far better chance of keeping a much valued local asset in use.

We have been approached by a number of local groups in Southwark as to how to do this and it is relatively simple to do if your pub is well used by local people. We thought it might be useful to create a guide as to how to do – the principles will be roughly the same in other local authorities but these suggestions are specific to the requirements that we have found Southwark asks community groups to meet. If there are any errors we apologise for that and will correct them as soon as we find out.

The full list of Assets of Community Value in Southwark can be downloaded here. 

How to Make an ACV Listing Application

As you can see there are just nine pubs on the list so there are a lot of pubs that are not on the list so far. While in no way a magic solution, getting your pub listed as an asset will save you tons of trouble if and when it does get sold and you have to fight the inevitable planning application that will follow – that is much much harder.

Re-opening of the Huntsman & Hounds PH - One of Southwark's ACV listed pubs

Step 1

To make an application you need to be a constituted local organisation such as a T&RA or an amenity/local society as you will make the application under the name of that organisation. When you send in the application you will need to attach a copy of your adopted constitution.

Step 2

Supporters. You need 21 names of people to support the bid - they must be registered to live in and vote in the borough and give their consent for Southwark Council to search the electoral register for their names - Get at least 25 names as some will fall foul of the criteria in some way. The file called ACV-XAsset-SAMPLENames-09Jan17 at the bottom of the page includes a) a template in Word of how you might list your supporters and b) some text you might use in an email to encourage people you know/are in touch with to provide their details for you to use. 

Step 3

The Form. Here is the place where the downloadable ACV form comes from. The one (it is a fillable and savable pdf) you want is:

The form is pretty straight forward but the key bit where you can build the story of your asset is PART C about the asset. In essence you need to convince Southwark of the uses (preferably current or in the past three years) that the asset is put to that makes it important to people in the area. There is a role to tell a little of the history of the building but it is the USES of it that are key. We have found that talking to people and making notes of what they say and then writing those up is the best way to get this story across. Right at the end of the form on page 4 it says that “You may attach photos, maps, plans and other documents to help identify the asset and to support your nomination”.

At the bottom of this webpage are two examples of the stories that the WS developed for two of its ACV applications a) The Beehive PH in West Walworth and b) the Elephant & Castle PH. Don’t be intimidated by any part of them (eg the historic research)it is the stories of people using it that are key.

Step 4

Obtain Land Registry documents for the property. It is a bit fiddly but you should be able to work it out! The search of the title and plan costs £6 and you will receive a downloadable pdf that you can include as one of your documents (see Step 5 below)

Step 5

Submit the application. You send the application as an email to:

We suggest the following attachments as a checklist and do ask for confirmation of safe receipt of the email:

1. A completed application form (see Step 3 - the fillable pdf)

2. The accompanying notes with any extra detail referred to in the application form (see Step 3) 

3. Names of the supporters of this application (see Step 2)

4. A Land Registry search for the site which will includes the Ordnance Survey site plan (pdf) (see Step 4)

5. A copy of the adopted constitution of your group (see Step 1)

6. Any other documents that you think might be valuable to the application.

That is about it! The trick is to set aside some time to do all this in advance of the awful day when someone tells you that your local has just been sold and the new owner wants to redevelop it into flats.

Image result for beehive pub walworth

ACV Listed Beehive PH in West Walworth

Additional information