England & Wales Communities and society, Culture, sport and tourism

Viewpoint: Be the champion of your community pub

CAMRA is a consumer organisation with more than 173,000 members and acts as the independent voice for pub-goers and real ale drinkers. Here CAMRA’s Campaigns Officer Faye Grima explains how councillors can actively protect pubs in their local area by nominating them to be listed as ‘Assets of Community Value’.

Pubs are at the heart of our communities; injecting thousands of pounds into our local economy every year, creating jobs, supporting the beer and cider industry, and bringing people together from a variety of different backgrounds. However pubs continue to close at a rate of 29 a week and latest research shows that two pubs are converted into supermarkets every week.

It is clear that communities across the country are concerned about losing locally valued assets like pubs – so we need to work together to protect them.

Assets of Community Value (ACV) were introduced as part of the 2011 Localism Act to empower local communities and local government to protect valued community assets – giving communities greater say over planning and development in their local area. Assets listed include post offices, green space and pubs. With more than 173,000 CAMRA members – it’s no surprise that pubs are currently the most listed asset!

In 2015, the government threw pub protection campaigners a vital lifeline and extended planning protection to pubs listed as ACVs . Without ACV status, developers are free to convert your local pub to a wide range of retail uses or even demolish them, without any community consultation.

Councillors now have a real opportunity to protect pubs that matter to their local areas by nominating them to be listed as Assets of Community Value.

Campaigners and Greg Mulholland MP celebrating after Otley became the first town to list all its pubs as Assets of Community Value)
Campaigners and Greg Mulholland MP celebrating after Otley became the first town to list all its pubs as Assets of Community Value)

CAMRA aims to increase the number of pubs listed as ACVs from around 800 at present to 1,500 by the end of the year. We want to work with local councillors to ensure valued local pubs are safeguarded in every community.

How councillors can positively engage in the campaign.

  • Nominating pubs to be listed as Assets of Community Value allows local councillors to be the leader of their own community and protect assets that matter in their local area.
  • ACVs can enable councillors to have greater powers over issues that matter to communities.
  • Councillors can be the champion of public services in the area by promoting the use of ACVs.
  • Councillors can enable local communities to improve their neighbourhoods by listing assets such as pubs as ACVs.
  • Have more of a say over what happens to pubs in your local community. You will be consulted if your pub is threatened.
  • Connect with other local groups and members of the community to campaign to protect vital services in your area such as post offices, green space and local pubs.
  • Work with CAMRA to promote the campaign. You can email me on faye.grima@camra.org.uk if you would like to discuss this further.

The Localism Act clearly provided opportunity to decentralise power away from Whitehall and back to councils, communities and individuals to protect assets that matter to them. But it’s up to you as councillors to utilise these powers to make a real difference to your community.

Want to learn more?

CAMRA in connection with the LGIU are hosting three community pub summits to engage with council officials on the different ways you can utilise the tools available to actively protect pubs in your local area. The summits are taking place in Worcester, 9th July; Liverpool, 15th July; and Southampton, 20th July.