On 16th September over fifty local residents gathered at Exeter Street Hall to discuss how we could work together to protect The Dyke from redevelopment, get it assigned ACV status and ideally get our local public house back. At the meeting, we explained our plans to submit an ‘Asset of Community Value’ application, and people shared stories of the Dyke and explained why they felt it was so important to have it as a community venue.
About an ACV (Asset of Community Value)
There is currently no planning permission required to change a pub to a retail unit – BUT the developer must contact the local council to check if the building is listed as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ first. Martin Webb informed the council of his plans for the Dyke in July, and following that there was a 56 day period before he could turn the pub into a shop. This 56 day period is to give the local community time to apply for an ACV if the building didn’t have one. With ACV status granted, developing the pub would be more difficult – and it also gives the community an opportunity to bid for the pub. However, the council had no obligation to make Martin Webb’s proposal public – and because nobody knew about the plans, no application for an ACV was submitted. Under current laws, it was perfectly acceptable for the business to change overnight from a pub to a shop with the public (or staff) knowing nothing about it.
Wandsworth Council realised the importance of this issue and this year they issued a blanket Article 4 (A4) direction on 120 pubs and restaurants, meaning that any change of use or development would require planning permission from the council. We would like to see the same thing happening in Brighton & Hove.
Our online Change.org petition has now reached 1000 signatures – and stories and photos about the pub are filling our email inbox as we prepare the ACV document!
Once the petition reaches 1250 signatures, we will be invited to present it to Brighton & Hove Council, so that is our focus at the moment with group members taking to the streets to collect names and recruit volunteers.