Team calls for Sheffield council to act to protect pub assets

Team calls for council to act to protect pub assets
Team calls for council to act to protect pub assets
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Campaigners who have lost scores of pubs from their community have attacked Sheffield Council’s record of listing them as assets.

High Green Community Action Team says the fact the council has only approved one pub across the whole city as an asset of value is ‘ruining communities’.

Buildings deemed as official assets of community value have more protection if the owner ever decides to sell them, as ordinary people are given a chance to buy them.

Nationally, pubs are the most common buildings listed and are said to have an 88 per cent approval rate, but in Sheffield two out of three applications have been rejected.

Only one, for The Castle Inn at Bolsterstone, has been approved.

Barrie Bellamy, from the group, said: “The council has only approved one pub to be listed out of many applications submitted as community assets, making our pass rate lower than 20 per cent.

“This reluctance to list public Houses is ruining communities all over Sheffield.”

In High Green, the issue is a particular sore spot.

Six pubs have closed in the last few years, while three remain open. The Rose Inn, Salutation, White Hart, Crossfield Tavern and Market Inn have closed and face being replaced with housing.

But a lengthy battle was fought to try to stop the historic Cart and Horses from becoming a Sainsbury’s supermarket – ending in an expensive public inquiry.

Residents said the store was not needed, the pub was the base for a number of groups and there were road safety problems with the plans. They also said the pub had been ‘turned around’ and was making a healthy turnover.

However, a government planning inspector ruled the pub could be replaced and said there would be no problems if planning conditions were adhered to.

Two bids to list the pub as a community asset were made, but were rejected on the grounds the main aim was to stop the supermarket proposal - which the group say is not true.

Barrie said: “It is clear the council and Government have no interest in saving pubs from being closed in favour of big businesses.

“We are not against progress, but do believe in fairness. High Green has lost six pubs over the last few years.”

The council says it has only received three applications to register pubs as assets.

Coun Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for communities and public health, said: “Each application is considered on its merits and there is no bias either for or against pubs.

“So far, we have received three applications to register pubs.

“Based on the information provided by the applicants, one was considered to meet the criteria and two were not.

“While it is relevant to consider a percentage from national statistics, in the case of Sheffield it seems unreasonable to draw conclusions when only three applications have been made.

“We recognise the importance of pubs in communities, but it should be noted listing as an asset of community value does not guarantee it will stay open.

“It is important communities use these assets so they remain viable businesses and are not at risk of closure.”

He said the council published all its decisions and assessment criteria on its website.