December 12 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, August 24, 2013
People are being urged to protect Suffolk pubs from development by nominating them to become community assets.
Officials from Suffolk Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) hope that special powers introduced under the Localism Act – designed to give communities time to make realistic bids for important non-residential buildings should they come up for sale – will stop the county’s pubs from disappearing. Once registered, buildings cannot be sold without the community group being given the opportunity to bid.
Since the law came into effect in September last year, 17 community assets have been registered across the county, including five pubs. It is understood that many more pubs are due to be considered for the status, over the coming weeks.
John Gagen, pubs officer for West Suffolk Camra, said the legislation was an important tool to prevent the devastation caused to villages by the loss of a pub.
He added: “Camra is encouraging people to list their local, preferably before the pub shuts, although it hasn’t got to be a pub that is trading.
“If you’ve recently lost your local you can have it listed. That’s where the legislation is important, because there are a number of pubs in Suffolk that aren’t’ trading, but they are still public houses. As far as we are concerned, they are just not trading in the current economic climate and what we are concerned with, is that if they sit empty for a certain amount of time, the ones who do use the pub go elsewhere it gets harder to revitalise the pub. But if they are listed as a community asset at least it gives someone to go in and buy it at a reasonable value.”
Mr Gagen has personally been involved in a push to get The Bull in Thorpe Morieux listed as a community asset, with a decision due by Barbergh District Council in September.
He added that pubs were crucial places, especially in rural areas, for community meetings and socialising,
“The legislation could have been designed for pubs really. They are the most important asset the village has got,” Mr Gagen said.
Pubs currently listed as community assets include The Case is Altered in Bentley, the Emperor in Norwich Road, Ipswich, the Rose and Crown Public House in Beck Row and The Admiral’s Head Public House in Little Bealings, Woodbridge.
The Royal British Legion Club in Lakenheath and the Burton Centre in Camps Road, Haverhill are also registered.
For more information about how to register your local visit www.camra.org.uk/listyourlocal.