Local pub under threat of closure?

Posted: 4th May 2016

PubPubs often lie at the heart of community life, particularly in rural areas, but recent years have seen thousands of them close. However, one case has shown how, with the right legal advice, local people can band together to save them.

The owner of a village pub believed that it was unviable as a business and hoped to sell it to a developer for conversion into a private home. That plan was opposed by a group of local residents, one of whom had pledged £300,000 in order to keep it open. It was argued that it could be used to host parish meetings, barn dances, vegetable shows and curry nights and could be viable if operated by tenant publicans who lived on the premises.

The group succeeded in having the pub listed by the local authority as an asset of community value, under the Localism Act 2011. In rejecting the owner’s challenge to that decision, the First-tier Tribunal found that his way of running the pub was far from being the only viable means of doing so. It was realistic that the pub could continue to further the social interests and wellbeing of the village.

The listing meant that the owner would have to notify the local authority of any plans to sell the pub for residential development. Local residents would then have a six-week window in which to come up with an alternative proposal and to put in their own bid. On receipt of such an offer, any sale would be delayed for six months to give residents a chance to raise the necessary funds.