Last month, the Government announced its intention to introduce legislation meaning planning permission would be required to change the use of or demolish ACV-listed pubs.
Williams said he has since been pressed on whether the change will be implemented before the election, but assured campaigners the new regulations would be introduced shortly.
“Both myself and my coalition colleague Kris Hopkins, community pubs minister, are absolutely determined,” he said.“We will be laying the secondary legislation in this parliament in the next few weeks in order to make the legal change. It really will give the Localism Act absolute teeth.”
Speaking at the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) parliamentary reception last week, Williams urged pub supporters to get their locals ACV-listed “now it will come with protection”.
Calls for more action
Last week, the Communities and Local Government (CLG) committee called on the Government to strengthen ACV planning laws even further and suggested changes including increasing the moratorium on the sale of an ACV pub from six to nine months; introducing a right to appeal against a council’s decision not to list an asset; and closing the loophole that allows an ACV to be sold as a going concern when the buyer has no intention of retaining it in its current use.
Clive Betts MP, chair of the committee, said the wording of the Government’s new changes needs to ensure that a pub with ACV status “can’t just be sold — lose its ACV status and its protection from change of use — and then be converted to something else overnight”.
Tim Page, chief executive of CAMRA, added: “We now urge the Government to deliver on this promise before the general election, but crucially to get the detail right. In particular, we want to see a commitment from ministers that they will close the potential loophole in their plans whereby pubs listed as ACVs will lose this planning protection when sold on to a developer with vacant possession.”