On 26 January 2015, the government announced measures intended to give further protection from demolition and development to those public houses which are considered to be of most value to local communities.
Through the community right to bid introduced by the Localism Act 2011, members of the public already have the ability to nominate well regarded buildings or land to be listed as assets of community value.
The listing of a building or land as an asset of community value (ACV) triggers a moratorium on any sale, enabling local people to develop a bid to buy the asset and secure its ongoing contribution to their community. Since the community right to bid was introduced, a third of the assets listed have been public houses.
The written statement issued by Kris Hopkins, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, on 26 January confirms the government's intention to bring forward secondary legislation so that, in England, the listing of a public house as an ACV will result in an automatic removal of permitted development rights for its demolition or change of use.
Currently a change of use from a public house to (i) a shop, (ii) a professional/financial institution or (iii) a restaurant or cafe is considered permitted development. However, when the government's proposed changes to the permitted development regime come into force, planning permission will have to be applied for and obtained.
Local communities will be consulted upon the determination of any such planning application and, as a result, will be afforded a further opportunity to protect and preserve the public houses they value most.
It's the government's stated intention to bring forward secondary legislation 'at the earliest opportunity'. Current expectations are that the required changes to the permitted development regime will be brought into effect swiftly and before the forthcoming general election.
This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.