Council rejects campaigners' plan to protect pub on University of Sheffield campus

Protests against the possible demolition of The University Arms in Sheffield.
Protests against the possible demolition of The University Arms in Sheffield.
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Real ale campaigners have responded with bewilderment after their plan to protect a Sheffield pub was thrown out.

The city branch of Camra - the Campaign for Real Ale - had applied to Sheffield Council to list The University Arms, on the University of Sheffield campus off Western Bank, as an asset of community value, or ACV.

A successful application means a pub or any other building cannot be knocked down or converted without planning permission, and if it goes up for sale, the community is given six months to put in an offer.

But despite the branch's best efforts, the council rejected the application. Explaining its decision, the authority said there was a lack of evidence that the pub's use furthered the 'social wellbeing and interests of the local community' enough to quality.

Camra pub heritage officers Dave Pickersgill said the branch was 'very surprised'.

"We have studied the reasons given by the council and find many of them either unsupported or incorrect," he added.

"We believe that ACV status is something of which any pub would be proud. It is a clear indication that the pub matters to the community.

"We do not understand why the property owners, the University of Sheffield, should be against the award of such status, especially as two recent reports for the university indicate that we seem to have many common aims and ideas."

The application to list The University Arms was put in after the university released a development masterplan, in which one option suggested knocking the pub down.

The university opposed the listing, with a six-page letter from London-based solicitor Pinsent Masons outlining a number of 'deficiencies’ in the application, including a failure to demonstrate a local community’ or set out a proposal to buy the pub if it were up for sale.

The letter also accuses Camra of an attempt to limit the university’s ability to develop this part of its estate for the benefits of its staff and students’.

The council agreed with the university on several points, concluding that the pub was 'predominantly used by students' and not the wider community.

Cabinet member for community services Jack Scott said: “In the last six months we have approved four applications for pubs to become assets of community value. These were all bids that were unsuccessful the first time around, as they did not provide information needed to meet the strict legal requirements.

“The University Arms is a great pub in many ways however, it has been declined for the same reasons as before.

"We are happy to meet with the applicants to discuss future applications from them. We’ve got some great pubs in Sheffield and I am very keen to work with local communities to help protect them for the future.”

The full reasons for the decision are on the Sheffield Council website.

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