Pubcos 'becoming wise to Assets of Community Value bids'

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Public house

Enterprise has been criticised for not supporting an asset of community value bid for one of its pubs
Enterprise has been criticised for not supporting an asset of community value bid for one of its pubs
A leading pub activist has urged campaigners fighting for Assets of Community Value (ACV) bids to up their game to counter pubco objections.

James Watson, a pubs protection officer for the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) claimed companies were "becoming wise" to ACV bids and stressed any group with a vested interest in the future of a pub “shouldn’t wait until it is under threat”.

Watson’s claim follows the emergence of an Enterprise Inns document, seen by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, which opposed a request for the Mitre, in York, to be listed as an ACV.

Enterprise’s three-page document listed a number of economic factors that have impacted on the sustainability of smaller community pubs, including the smoking ban, beer duty and government red tape. It claimed that, since 2007, beer sales at the leased pub have reduced by 52%.

It also refuted the claim by Rawcliffe Parish Council, which applied for the ACV, that the Mitre is “the only pub in the parish to offer community facilities” by listing three other pubs situated within half a mile of the pub.

Despite the pubco’s concerns, the ACV was subsequently approved by City of York Council last Thursday (17 July).


Watson slammed Enterprise for its “conjured-up” response, and said he failed to accept any of the reasons it had made for the ACV not to stand.

“It’s got nothing to do with the smoking ban and beer duty — these are just smokescreens,” he argued.

“And I don’t buy into the excuse that there are other pubs in the vicinity. Pubs mean different things to different people — rarely do you get ones of similar character close to each other.”

Mike Perry, head of development and policy at the Plunkett Foundation, which supports local co-op schemes, said the ACV registration process was not set up to only help people register pubs if there weren’t others nearby.

He also believed councils could do more to support the process.

Unjustified objections

He said: “The council assesses nominations for ACVs and it should also be able to respond to objections from pub owners for the listing, rather than burdening communities with responding to, at times, unjustified objections.”

A spokesman for Enterprise Inns said the company had been approached by the council for its opinion.

He added: “Enterprise Inns believes the local community benefits from ample community facilities in close proximity to the Mitre and as such it would be inappropriate to add the Mitre to the register."

Last December, Punch Taverns was accused of actively opposing attempts to keep the Sir John Barleycorn in Hitchin, Hertfordshire trading as a pub when it submitted a response to an ACV submission by stating that its use as a pub “does not itself further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community and, therefore, is not land of community value”.

The ACV was subsequently granted.

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