CAMRA are keen to have branches nominate pubs from their area to protect them from being sold on at the drop of a hat to become a small supermarket or whatever.  But, it takes time to check and process each one so please don’t all send in suggestions at once.  They prepare the application form, obtain Land Registry records and supply copies of supporting documents. 

Doncaster branch have been focusing on the most important ones first, where there was a danger of development taking the pub business off the map to change the use of the building or simply close it down. Already we have ACV’s for the Corner Pin and 'Little' Plough in the town centre, plus the Coach and Horses at Barnburgh, Eagle & Child in Auckley and the Three Horseshoes, Town End.  Applications are in process for several more. Some pubs have declined taking an application forward, we will work with landlords and listen to them if they have concerns.

We have also had to refer some submissions back to the person who nominated them to ask them to gain 'community support'. This is a simple document that can be obtained from CAMRA (click here) to obtain 21 signatures of local people on the voting register who will pledge their support to the application. There is no requirement for any of those people to put any money into the campaign, either on application or if the pub was to close. The form simply shows the council that there are several people willing to put their names to the application. 

There are lots of pubs that will spring to mind. We’ve not had anyone active in the role of making the applications for a while but now the branch has a new Pubs Protection Officer. Gordon is looking after the pubs put forward, either visiting himself or passing them to other branch members and between us we’ll start to build up a strong list of pubs with ACV’s in place. Once accepted by the local council the pub will be sent a certificate and window sticker to show they are listed as an ACV. 

Then what? Well, having an ACV just puts a little bit of delay in the plans of the company selling the pub in question. In effect there is a maximum six month consultation period during which time we, members of the public as well as CAMRA members, can get together and put up objections but mainly it needs a proposal for purchase of the premises or lease to run it as a community pub. 

Now, if you were already writing to CAMRA to put a pub forward, think carefully: IF the pub holding company decide to sell, what then? Would your local community rally round and buy it? Even if 500 people put in £100 each that’s only £50,000, would that be enough to buy the property or at least a short term lease? That terminology ‘Lock, Stock & Barrel’ comes into play too, consider all of the stock, the fixtures and fittings, the goodwill, and consideration for the staff as well. The idea is to keep the pub open and serving the community it is in.

CAMRA may offer advice and some guidance but there isn’t a kitty for buying pubs, that’s why they are described as being of community value. The community places a value on the pub and would like to see it protected from rushed through development plans. If needs be, the community would put forward plans and proposals for purchase. It’s also possible that they could find another pub company to take the lease and/or property on.

Spare a few moments to think about pubs which we have lost already – why? Most of the time it’s because they lacked support from their local community, there just wasn’t the trade to keep going.  The companies that owned them decided enough was enough and closed them down.

Do we still need local pubs? Is the support there? If we have some well supported pubs then these are the ones we need to protect by applying for an ACV.  We’re not looking at big chain town centre pubs or the 'family' carvery type. There’s also the question of CAMRA stepping in to gain an ACV for a pub that does not sell real ale – should we? Does it have historic value and would the community have the same kind of support to save it ?

CAMRA nationally are looking at a target of about 3,000 pubs with ACV's so they can then lobby the Government to give this level of protection to ALL pubs, without the requirement to register each one individually. 

Having read this little article, if you would like to suggest a pub that deserves to be protected by being registered as an Asset of Community Value, drop me an email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - NOTE: as of January 2017, CAMRA's national campaigns team are focusing on lobbying the government to remove permitted development rights from all pubs. 

Gordon Sharpe
Pubs Protection Officer
Doncaster CAMRA

Pubs we have already registered as ACV's: 
The Corner Pin, Doncaster
The (Little) Plough, Doncaster
Coach & Horses, Barnburgh
Eagle & Child, Auckley
Three Horseshoes, Town End
Corporation Brewery Taps, Doncaster
The Ivanhoe, Sprotborough
The Salutation, Doncaster
The Plough, Micklebring (changed name to the Grazing Hart)
The Railway, West Street, Doncaster 
The Leopard, West Street, Doncaster