Pubs as assets of community value

We've put together some information about pubs as assets of community value.

Detailed information about the nomination process and the current lists of successful and unsuccessful assets of community value are available on our main assets of community value web page.

Questions and answers

What does it mean if a campaign group gets a pub listed as an asset of community value (ACV)? 

If anyone is concerned about the future of a pub – or any other building considered to have community value - it would be wise to consider nominating it for listing as an ACV.

The listing means that if the pub’s owner ever wants to sell the property:

  • Both the council and whoever nominated the pub as an ACV must be told. 
  • Public notice must be given of the sale.

Any organisation recognised under the rules as a "community interest group" then has six weeks to say if they want to try to buy the pub. 

If a community interest group comes forward as an interested buyer, there is a six-month hold on the sale. This gives the community interest group and its supporters the chance to raise the required funds.

Community interest groups still have to compete with other potential buyers. The owner does not have to give them first refusal or a favourable price.  The owner can sell to anyone, even if the community interest group raises enough money to buy.

Will the council list any pub nominated as an ACV?

No we will not. The pub has to have or have had a clear community use. Property with community value is a place promoting social wellbeing or social interests such as cultural, sporting and recreational activity, either currently or in the recent past. 

In Brighton & Hove some pubs have been accepted by the council as ACVs and some refused.

Who can make a nomination?

Recognised community interest groups include residents’ and community groups, parish councils and charities. 

Do pubs need planning permission to change their use?

It depends on the proposed change – and if the pub is already listed as an ACV. 

The current law says that pubs can have a change of use without planning permission into certain specific things, using ‘permitted development rights’ if they are:

  • not listed as an ACV 
  • nominated as an ACV but not yet determined

These things are shops, cafes, restaurants and certain types of office or light industrial use.

Freestanding pubs can usually be demolished without permission. 

Pubs which are listed as an ACV would need full planning permission for any such changes.  ACV listing could then become a consideration when deciding the planning application. ACV listing does not automatically prevent a change of use in itself.

Recent rule changes also require any owner of a pub not yet listed as an ACV, who wants to use permitted development rights, as above, to ask the council if any nomination to list the pub as an ACV has been made.  They must wait 56 days for an answer before the change can proceed.

How can the public find out that the owner of a pub, which is not listed as an ACV, wants to change its use in this way?

As things stand, they can’t – unless the pub owner announces it. Unlike usual planning applications, the law places no requirement on councils to publicise such proposals. 

As far as we’re aware, no councils are publicising such plans because it could be unlawful for them to do so. 

How do I ask the council to list a property as an asset of community value? 

If anyone is concerned about the future of a pub – or any other building considered to have community value - it would be wise to consider nominating it for listing as an ACV.

Find out how to make a nomination on our assets of community value page