The Dyke Pub & Kitchen was suddenly converted into a furniture shop, called Emporium of Treasure & Trash, by owners Martin Webb and Warrick Armsby-Ward back in September.
Their move angered members of the local community who formed a campaign group to try and rescue the Dyke and filed to have the pub listed as an ACV. The group was informed of its success this afternoon (6 December).
Catherine Swann Hill of the Save the Dyke group said they were thrilled the campaign had led to ACV status for the Dyke.
Step in the right direction
She said: “This doesn’t mean everything goes back to normal; clearly the owners are running it as a shop and may have other plans, but it is a first step in the right direction and means if they decide to sell, we get the [first] option to buy.
“Hopefully it will prompt more positive developments – we wait with baited breath.”
Despite Arsmby-Ward and Webb having acted completely within the law when they changed the Dyke into Emporium, pub planning expert Dale Ingram said their move highlighted a key failing in planning laws that do not force developers to notify the public when they intend to change the use of a pub.
The group will meet with Webb & Armsby-Ward tomorrow morning (7 December) to discuss the next step, The Morning Advertiser (MA) understands.
Fellow campaigner Ian Fardell told MA: “As far as we’re concerned, this is a fantastic move forward. A lot of hard work has gone into this.
“Hopefully, this will pave the way for the next step. The game’s not over in terms of getting the pub back but it’s a good morale boost for everyone supporting the campaign. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are.”
The campaign group has also urged Brighton & Hove’s local authority to consider a Wandsworth-style Article 4 direction for the city, which would mean plans to change the use of any pub would have to be approved by the council.
The Dyke’s ACV status means the community will have six months to come up with a bid for the pub or find a buyer at market value if Armsby-Ward and Webb attempt to sell it.