Protecting Our Pubs

 I am passionate about pubs, not least because I used to work in the business. I know that pubs are at the heart of the community, or, as we used to say, "the pub is the hub".

I am encouraging local parish councils to register their pubs as "assets of community value". This is important in giving the local community a greater stake in the future of these assets. Listing means that, should a pub be put up for sale, the local community has six weeks (the interim moratorium period) to give notice that they intend to try to put together a bid for the property. If they do so, this triggers the full 6 month moratorium period, in which the community can try to raise a bid for the property. The pub cannot be sold before that point. There is no guarantee that the community will be able to put together a bid to match outside buyers, but this at least gives them a chance. Communities should consider which pubs they want to protect, and register them now, before they are at risk.

The government recently announced a next step in its support for stronger protections for pubs that are important to local communities. The government are planning to introduce secondary legislation, so that ‘the listing of a pub as an asset of community value will trigger a removal of the national permitted development rights for the change of use or demolition of those pubs’. This would mean that when a pub is listed as an asset of community value, a planning application will be required for the change of use (e.g. to a shop). This reform will add another reason to list valued local pubs as assets of community value.

The detail on what needs to happen to register a pub as an Asset of Community Value, and on your Community Right to Bid, can be found here.

I am also fully supportive of the range of financial and wider support which the Government have already provided for community pubs, including scrapping the beer and alcohol duty escalators, cutting beer duty, removing red tape that hindered pubs holding live music, doubling small business rate relief and increasing the temporary business rate discount for pubs with rateable values below £50,000 from £1,000 to £1,500 for 2015-16, cutting corporation tax and National Insurance for employers, giving pubs greater flexibility over weights and measures, and giving publicans tied to pub companies new rights under a new statutory code of practice.