An Otley freeholder has labelled the town’s blanket asset of community value (ACV) listing a “publicity stunt” and demanded a review into the decision.
Earlier this year Otley Pub Club — whose president is Save the Pub Group chair Greg Mulholland — applied to Leeds City Council for a blanket classification of all 19 pubs in the area.
However, Lee Pullen of the Old Cock told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser he wasn’t consulted on the move: “I wasn’t asked if I wanted to be listed. When I was setting up the pub, I didn’t get much support from Leeds council and I object to now being told that if I want to sell, I have to inform them.
“I feel I’ve earned the right to say what happens to my pub. I’d only sell if it was no longer viable. It’s a great business but no one knows what’s around the corner.”
Pullen added: “I feel like the blanket listing was a bit of a publicity stunt. The nomination treats freeholders like we’re the big pub companies. We’re not and it feels like no one is fighting our cause.”
The review will be conducted by a council officer not involved with the original decision and can lead to the listing being overturned if the officer feels there is significant evidence.
Pullen is in talks with two more of the town’s freeholders to garner support.
In response, Mulholland said: “Lee is a superb publican and I am sympathetic. CAMRA has informed me that if a pub is sold as a going concern, the six-month wait period is not triggered, which should alleviate some of his concerns.
“In terms of the wider issue, it’s the Government that has decided we have to list our valued pubs. It has refused to do the simple thing and end permitted development rights, so now the only way is via an ACV listing. Where we might have been able to focus on pubs at risk, now we have to list all pubs. In doing so, there’s a danger in confusing the community right to buy with a need to end development rights.”