What is an Asset of Community Value (ACV)

Over the past few months you may have heard talk of, or possibly seen on our Facebook page, #SaveTheChelsfield, comment or reference made to something called an “ACV” and wondered what it is; we are frequently asked by patrons what an ACV is and how it would help us. To that end we have outlined below the key details of what they are and how they relate to our situation.

An asset of community value (ACV) is land or property that is of importance to a local community which is subject to additional protection from development. Voluntary and community organisations can nominate an asset to be included on their local authority's register of asset of community value. Once completed, registration as an asset of community value covers four key aspects: -

  1. Removal of permitted development rights for change of use and demolition of public houses: by law, from May 2017 owners seeking to change a pub's planning use class or to demolish it must apply for planning permission so as to allow its users to comment
    • With the ACV in place Punch cannot demolish The Chelsfield without at least having to talk to us!
  2. Material planning consideration: ACV status is a material consideration in a planning application and can be used by the local planning authority and Planning Inspectorate as a factor in refusing planning permission for full or partial change of use or demolition
    • Having attained ACV status this can be used by the council and Planning Inspectorate as a reason for refusing planning permission for a change of use or demolition.
  3. Community right to bid: the local community has six months to raise funds and submit a bid to buy an ACV for community use
    • At a future date we as a community have the right to attempt to buy The Chelsfield
  4. Compulsory purchase rights: an ACV-registered building can be compulsorily purchased by the local authority or council if it is under threat and the result would be long-term loss to the community
    • If the council considers that The Chelsfield is in danger of demolition and that would result in a significant loss to the community they can issue Punch Partnerships (PML) Ltd. a compulsory purchase order (CPO) in order to secure the future of The Chelsfield.

With the ACV in place, the owner of the asset (in our case that would be Punch) must inform the local authority if they wish to sell the asset. If a group (that would be ourselves) want to buy the asset, they can trigger a moratorium for six months, to give them (us) a chance to raise the money in order to purchase the asset.

The owner (Punch) does not have to sell to a community group. The asset of community value listing only improves the chances of community groups being able to purchase by providing more time to raise funds. It does not require the owner to sell at a discount.

The listing of a property as an 'Asset of Community Value' lasts for five years after which it is automatically delisted and the restrictions imposed by the covenant are removed. Communities can however apply for the listing to be renewed. Care should be taken to ensure the listing is continuous, i.e. apply for renewal not less than 8 weeks before the original listing ends.

By late 2015, of about 860 pubs across the country which had registered as ACVs, with over six hundred being listed by March 2015; twelve had been acquired by groups under the Community Right to Bid and none had been purchased under compulsory purchase powers. By 2018 there were 6 pub CPO actions being considered or underway.


How does ACV help us?

With the ACV in place The Chelsfield gains a layer of protection

What have we done so far / What are we doing?

Towards the end of last year we sought out a number of groups and societies that regularly utilise the facilities provided by The Chelsfield, requesting that they consider completing ACV forms together with the required signatures from their members who needed to be local residents registered on the electoral role. Once completed we requested these forms be submitted to Bromley Council by each group or society.

Although only a single ACV is required to gain ACV protection status, we took the view that a multi-faceted approach may yield a faster result; we would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude and thanks to all of those groups, societies and individuals that took the time and effort to assist us with this; in particular we thank our very good friends at Bromley CAMRA who have provided so much guidance and encouragement since the this debacle first came to our attention back in October.

It is without doubt that these ACV submissions provided additional weight to the recent council decision to not only reject the original planning application submitted by Punch, but also for the council to stand by us and fight the appeal that had already been submitted by Punch to the Planning Inspectorate.

At the time of writing this article the ACV is not yet confirmed as being ‘in Place’ but we know for certain that both Bromley Council and the Bromley Planning Office are fully aware of their existence and of our intent as a community to do everything we can to protect our magnificent building; they may be two completely different departments at the council but we made sure that they each knew that our ACVs existed!

The ACV submission(s) are mentioned on at least three separate occasions during the Council meeting that took place on 14 February 2019 (@ 4:39 & 6:29) and by the committee chairwoman commenting (@ 12:10) that: - “The Chelsfield although it is not locally listed, is quite an attractive building”

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