Two cases on the listing of pubs as Assets of Community Value (ACV) under the Localism Act 2011 and the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/2421):

Hawthorn Leisure Ltd v St Edmondsbury BC (Localism Act 2011) [2016] UKFTT CR-2015-0018 (FTT GRC): HL appealed against the ACV listing of a pub that had ceased business in 2014. The Council had refused HL's application for permission for change of use to a dwelling house. The second respondent, a "Friends" community group, wished to buy the pub from HL and produced a business plan to support its proposal to raise funds to make an offer to purchase the pub. HL argued that the Friends had not produced evidence that the pub had served the wellbeing of the local community since 2009 and so the "recent past" test in s.88 of the Localism Act 2011 was not met; also that their business plan was fanciful and their scheme was not "realistic," as required by s.88.

The tribunal held, dismissing the appeal, that the requirements of s.88(2) were satisfied. The business plan was a dynamic document and it was entirely credible. It was realistic to think that, in the next five years, the pub could return to furthering a relevant social interest. The Friends had demonstrated that there was a realistic future for the building as a pub. In view of this, it was realistic to think that HL would either begin to run it as such, or else sell it to someone who will. (26 April 2016)

Mendoza Ltd v Camden LBC (Localism Act 2011) [2016] UKFTT CR-2015-0015 (FTT GRC): in this case, the pub was nominated for ACV listing by "Supporters" comprising 21 local people who appear on the electoral roll for the Council's area, who were said to be an association representing the views of the pub's users. M, the owner of the pub, appealed against the listing, arguing that the nomination was ineffective because the Supporters did not comprise "a person that is a voluntary or community body" for the purposes of s.89(2)(b)(iii) of the 2011 Act, read with reg.5 of the 2012 Regulations.

The tribunal held, dismissing the appeal, that the membership of the Supporters was sufficiently ascertainable to meet the requirements of the legislation. The legislation did not require the group to be an unincorporated association, involving contractual obligations as between its members, or to be an unincorporated body whose membership had to be capable of being comprehensively identified. The nomination in this case was made by 21 identified individuals, who had organised themselves into a group with the common purpose of nominating the pub as an asset of community value. Those individuals met the legislative requirement to be "local" residents. (27 April 2016)