Since CAMRA commenced its “List Your Local” campaign the number of public houses now listed as an ACV has risen to around 1,600 (up from 1,200 at New Year), and the rate of nominations and listings shows no signs of abating.
If you have concerns about potential nominations or listings of your pubs, you may be interested to read more about the trends that we’ve been seeing through our work in this area.
What we have found:
- The success rate for objections to nominations has been surprisingly high – of the 57 on which we have advised 37 objections have been successful.
- It is not unusual for nominated pubs to be the subject of repeated ACV nominations, where the nominator has become entrenched. However it is worth persevering; of 9 repeat incidents where we have been involved, we have been successful in over 50% of objections in such cases.
- We have found that where we are dealing with a CAMRA nomination, the chances of succeeding in objecting are now the same as objecting to nominations made by another nominator, such as the Parish Council. CAMRA has nominated 31 of the pubs we have dealt with – ie we have still seen a 67% success rate despite CAMRA being the most prolific nominator
- Having dealt with 14 reviews to date, we would rate the chances of winning as just over 50/50. The well funded Central London Boroughs can be a difficult place to win at review stage, but they are only responsible for 3 unsuccessful listing reviews that we have dealt with (out of 7).
- As with nominations, it is not unusual to see repeated reviews – of those we have dealt with 4 reviews fall into this category. As a result, one property was successfully kept off the ACV list and one was taken off the ACV list, only to then go back on it when the owner decided to keep it as a pub.
- Pub owners are now digging their heels in – we are now seeing just as many reviews as we are nominations. The average cost of a review is around twice as much as objecting to a nomination, so it remains best to object to nominations in every respect.
- The number of compensation claims we have advanced to date is still low by comparison to the number of listings, but these losses and claims are now materialising and we have a number of live compensation claims running against Councils, the largest of which is for £450,000. These claims are at the earliest stage and there may be some way to go before a precedent is established
There can be no doubt to those in the pub industry that the ACV regime as it exists is causing as much harm as good. We have repeatedly heard first hand of pub transactions failing because of banks being concerned about lending against ACV listed pubs, and pubs then closing. Given the minimal number of successful bids made by community interest organisations, the prejudice of an ACV listing to a pub remaining as a pub appears completely mismatched to the benefits.
Nevertheless, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) remains a friendly place for nominators, and pro-pub campaigners and CAMRA appear to mistake the Tribunal’s current purposive (as opposed to literal) interpretation of the legislation as bias against pub companies and developers alike, which plainly cannot be the case.
However, there has been only one successful recent appeal out of several, where the owner had obtained planning permission to change use, which made it unrealistic to think that the closed pub might return to public house use in the future. The Tribunal’s interpretation of the term “realistic” in this context continues to be “not fanciful”, rather than the dictionary definition, i.e. based in reality, which seems to us to be the correct interpretation of that term.
We continue to innovate in our approach to nominations and listings to deal with a difficult and evolving area of the law. As we develop our expertise in this area, we encourage those affected by the ACV regime to contact us to share their experiences.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.