Despite the best of intentions, the early indications are that assets of community value (ACV) have added little to the planning system, but provided the opportunity for anti-development lobbyists to thwart development and to interfere with landowners’ commercial objectives.
People who list their local pubs are given six months and the support they need to come together with a community bid to buy it, should it be put up for sale.
One has to question the rationale behind legislation that may prevent pub owners from making decisions based upon the financial viability of their operations.
Where it is clear that it’s no longer viable for a pub to trade as a pub, surely it is better to have a building in use than to have an empty and boarded-up property vulnerable to squatters?
It is possible to appeal the decision to list a pub as an ACV, particularly where the listing is seen as likely to have a detrimental effect upon the value of the asset. The owner of the asset can request a review of the council’s initial decision, paying particular attention to whether the nominating body has drawn up their nomination correctly.
Review hearings and appeals can be dealt with by written representations and/or hearings. In challenging any decision, the asset owner would need to pay close attention to:
- The council’s position, including the reasoning of the officer who conducted the review and evidence considered (title documents/evidence of ownership/third party use)
- If the asset is used by the community as a recreational or other facility
- If it has been used recently
- If there is any evidence confirming use and/or limitations of use
- The history of the property and any other relevant evidence (planning applications/accounts/details of public use)
Numerous appeals have already been dealt with by the first tier tribunal and some will find their way to the court of appeal because there is so much at stake for landowners.
While there are a number of issues they may wish to address, these will always vary on circumstances and the nature of the asset in question, so when in doubt, legal advice should be sought as soon as possible.