How can we help?


Is your local pub under threat? How can you save it?

The Localism Act 2011 (LA 2011) contains several proposals to give local authorities new freedoms and flexibility in order to protect local services and drive growth. The general power gives councils more freedom to work together with others in new ways to drive down costs. It gives them increased confidence to do creative, innovative things to meet local people’s needs.

One of the key policy goals of the LA 2011 was to give communities more power to become involved in the way local services are delivered by stimulating social, environmental and economic growth and regeneration through community asset ownership. This was intended to counter the damage that can be done to communities and community services when buildings or other amenities are closed or sold.

One of the powers included within the act is the right to bid for assets of community value. It allows communities to apply to their local council to have a building listed as an ‘asset of community value’. The council can approve the listing if it considers the building’s current use (or use in the recent past with a prospect of being revived) ‘furthers the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community’ and is likely to continue to do so. For instance, where pub landlords may want to sell off pubs to developers if the Local Authority lists the pub as an asset of community value, then it can only be used as a pub.

LA 2011 requires local authorities to maintain a list of assets of community. When listed assets come up for sale or change of ownership, the Act then gives community groups the time to develop a bid and raise the money to bid to buy the asset when it comes on the open market. This will help local communities keep much-loved sites in public use and part of local life. Where land is included in a local authority’s list of assets of community value, it remains on that list for five years whether the community bids for it or not.

We can see that the LA 2011 has helped save pubs in the past. Grade II listed The Ivy House in Nunhead had been classified as an ‘asset of community value’ by Southwark Council which protects it from change of use and halts any pending sale until community groups have had the chance to buy the property The community needed to raise the £810,000 asking price for the pub, which is where the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) who is a registered charity, working since 1976 to promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, stepped in to lend £550,000 towards both acquisition and for working capital purposes

Following completion of the purchase on 15 March 2013, Ivy House Community Pub Limited launched a community share issue to enable people and businesses to invest directly in the pub to secure its long-term future as London’s first co-operative pub and community hub. Over £140,000 was raised in this way, and the business successfully opened to the public in August 2013.

One of the key policy goals of the LA 2011 was to give communities more power to become involved in the way local services are delivered by stimulating social, environmental and economic growth and regeneration through community asset ownership.

Ten years on from the introduction of the LA 2011 we can see that the purpose of the act has not been fulfilled in its entirety. Although it has helped some local businesses remain in the community with either financial assistance through the reduction of business (another power given in the LA 2011 to Councils) or the protection of their use we are still seeing many community group deciding not to take ownership of pubs and them ending up sitting empty until the developers get their way.

Clarkslegal works closely with the pub sector so please do get in touch if this article raises any queries or questions and we will be happy to help.

About this article

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

About this article

Read, listen and watch our latest insights

  • 28 February 2024
  • Commercial Real Estate

Hidden risks in serviced office agreements

This is usually a fully furnished and equipped office space that is managed by a facility management company and made available for short-term or long-term rentals to businesses, varying from one week to a year, or even longer.

  • 27 February 2024
  • Employment

Changing Attitudes to Menopause

We have set out some answers to the frequently asked questions that employers ask when considering how to support a menopausal employee.

  • 22 February 2024
  • Employment

Time to take the heat off menopausal women

On 22 February 2024, the EHRC released guidance and resources for employers designed to help employers understand their legal obligations in relation to supporting workers experiencing menopausal symptoms.

  • 22 February 2024
  • Employment

Talking Employment Law: What to do if you’re at risk of redundancy

In this podcast, Harry Berryman and Rebecca Dowle, members of the employment team, will talk through the steps that need to be taken for a redundancy to be fair and the range of criteria that can be used when determining which employees will be made redundant.

  • 21 February 2024
  • Immigration

FAQs Partner Visa UK

Discover the UK Spouse Visa: eligibility, finances, relationship criteria, and the latest updates in 2024 for a successful application.

  • 19 February 2024
  • Privacy and Data Protection

The role of Data Protection Officers in ensuring compliance

How many of us receive marketing calls for products and services we did not sign up for?