Pub News – July 2020

Assets of Community Value

ACVs were created some seven years ago now, under the terms of the Localism Act. Although their importance was reduced by the abolition of ‘permitted development rights’ on pubs in 2017, ACVs played a significant part in helping CAMRA and community groups, often working together, to save many pubs up and down the country. Even now, the presence of an ACV listing indicates a pub’s value to the community so is a ‘material consideration’ in planning decisions and some councils have recognised ACV status in their Local Plans.

ACVs however only last for five years and the listings obtained in the early days are starting to expire. Councils have to remove them from the register when they do and they are under no obligation to notify those who nominated the pub for listing that this is about to happen. Unfortunately, there is, as such, no automatic renewal process. To continue an ACV listing you need to go through the application process again.

CAMRA’s Pub and Clubs Campaigns Committee are urging any branches or groups who obtained an ACV which is now expiring to review the situation and make a repeat nomination if considered appropriate.

If you find that your council questions your right to do this, there is advice available on CAMRA’s website .

Black Dog Beer House, Brentford

Photo: George Gimber, R&H CAMRA

I feel that this merits reporting. Early in June the management of the Black Dog decided not to proceed with their takeaway service because, having seen the way that people were behaving in public parks and open spaces, they did not want to contribute to it. To quote from their website, ‘we just can’t guarantee anyone’s safety from transmission of this virus with our current planned opening and we don’t want this on our conscience, no matter the risk to us financially’. Happily they have survived and were due to reopen on 25 July.

Mawson Arms/Fox & Hounds, Chiswick

Photo: Stuart Duncan, West London CAMRA

Much to widespread surprise, the pub, which served as the brewery tap, was not part of the brewery site but remained in the ownership of Fuller’s (pub company). It was primarily used by Fuller’s staff and visitors on brewery trips and so, following their move to new offices in Strand on the Green, Fuller’s see no further need for the Grade II*-listed building and the adjoining offices. It will not reopen and, in due course, will be sold.

For those not familiar with its history, the pub is thought to have two names because it had two licences, one for beer and one for spirits. It was originally the Fox & Dogs until 1772 when it became the Fox & Hounds. The other name commemorates Thomas Mawson who brewed on the site in the late 17th century before the formation of Fuller, Smith & Turner in 1845.

Old Spotted Dog, Forest Gate

Photo: Colin Price

Further to my report in the April/May edition, I’m happy to confirm that the plans to revive this Grade II-listed pub have been approved by Newham Council’s Strategic Development Committee, who met courtesy of Zoom. It will become a pub and restaurant, linked to a 68 bedroom hotel. This may not seem ideal for a building that was once King Henry VIII’s hunting lodge but given that it has been closed since 2004 and was on Historic England’s ‘Building at Risk’ register, it is as good as it was going to be. The scheme, which includes a meeting room available for use by the community and a function room, was supported by Historic England and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. A report presented to the committee said, “The proposals are considered wholly beneficial to the historic building, the historic layout of which will be reinstated. Its inherent significance as a Tudor public house will be further returned by restoring original floor levels and layouts.”

Tabard, Chiswick

Photo: Paul Charlton, West London CAMRA

This pub was purpose-built in 1880 as part of the Bedford Park estate, London’s first garden suburb and is Grade II*-listed accordingly. Local residents’ group, the Bedford Park Society, had it listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) early on and have recently had the good sense to renew the listing with Hounslow borough council. This was however only after the pub’s owners, Greene King, had lodged an unsuccessful appeal. It isn’t known what arguments GK’s lawyers put forward but they do appear to have somewhat missed the point. The clue is in the word ‘community’. It is the community that decides whether or not a pub (or whatever) is an asset which they value, not the owner. Usually, it is the owner from whom the community are trying to protect the pub.
Tony Hedger