Popular Tooting pub is listed as asset of community value

Published: Wednesday 29th July 15

A popular local pub in Tooting has been given an added layer of protection from redevelopment after the council agreed it should be listed as an asset of community value (ACV).

The ACV designation means that if the current owners of The Selkirk pub wish to sell it, they must first give the local community the chance to buy it. The listing gives local residents a six month window in which to raise sufficient funds to purchase it.
Although the owner does not have to sell to a community group, the ACV listing improves the chances of local grassroots organisations being able to raise the necessary funds by effectively triggering a six month moratorium on the sale.

The legislation is enshrined in the Localism Act 2011 and offers an enhanced level of protection to local buildings and amenities that are important to the local community and which benefit social well-being.

The ACV listing is part of a two pronged strategy by the council to protect local pubs from the unwelcome threat of redevelopment.

Last month the town hall announced it would be using enhanced planning powers to make it more difficult for developers to close pubs and turn the buildings over to other uses. It is estimated that 121 of the borough’s pubs would benefit from this additional safeguarding.

The council plans to issue ‘Article 4 Directions’ for these 121 pubs in recognition of their historic, architectural or community value.

This means owners would need to apply for permission before knocking them down or changing them into something else such as a supermarket or estate agent.

Currently, under ‘permitted development rights’, pub owners do not always need planning permission to demolish a pub or change its use. But Article 4 Directions remove permitted development rights, giving council planners a chance to decide whether or not to allow the changes.  

Pubs that are expected to get this extra layer of protection include The Alma, The Ship and The Cat’s Back in Wandsworth, The Bricklayers Arms, Arab Boy and Railway in Putney, The Plough and The Beehive in Battersea along with The Trafalgar Arms, The Wheatsheaf and The Selkirk in Tooting.

Some pubs that are currently closed would get protection, including the White Lion in Putney High Street and The Brewery Tap in Wandsworth High Street.

The Article 4 Directions will be published next month and following consultation are expected to come into force from September 2016 onwards.

Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “People in Tooting who know and love this valued local pub will be relieved that a potentially dark cloud has been lifted and that The Selkirk now faces a much brighter future with the unwelcome threat of redevelopment much diminished.

“Local people made a compelling case that The Selkirk should be given ACV status because of the positive contribution it makes to the area. Our decision means that the building cannot be sold without the local community being given the chance to buy it.

“This is part of a much wider strategy we have in place to protect the borough’s pubs from being turned into supermarkets or estate agents. We have drawn up a list of more than 120 that we feel should be given enhanced levels of protection.

“Wandsworth is the first council in the country to apply these planning powers on such a wide scale. We believe this is an effective way of helping to preserve many of our much loved local neighbourhood pubs.”

  • In a separate case, council planners have begun legal action against a property developer who unlawfully demolished as pub in Battersea without planning consent.

The developer has now been ordered to rebuild The Alchemist pub in St John’s Hill brick-by-brick and restore it to its original Victorian-era design and appearance.

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Recent comments

What is the process by which a local community can apply to have a building or amenity designated an ACV? Can an ACV designation be applied to a council owned asset ? Does an ACV designation prevent the owner of the asset from changing its use?
Alexander Muir

31 July 2015

Great initiative by our Council! The drinks are on Ravi!
Malcolm Aldop

31 July 2015