Calls are being made for the rules around protecting Sheffield’s pubs to be relaxed in a bid to save more from being sold off for development.
The Sheffield branch of the Campaign for Real Ale applied to the city council to have 11 local pubs declared ‘assets of community value’, a status which gives residents and regulars six months to put together a bid to buy buildings they want to save if they are put on the market.
However, so far nine of the applications have been rejected. In many of the cases, the council said the pubs did not meet the necessary criteria and that officers could not determine where each venue’s ‘local community’ lay.
But CAMRA says it is concerned the requirements in Sheffield are being ‘gold-plated’ - putting at risk the ability to nominate assets in the future. The applications rejected were for city centre pubs The Grapes, on Trippet Lane; The Bath Hotel, on Victoria Street; The Three Tuns, on Silver Street Head and The Red Deer, on Pitt Street, as well as the Sheffield Tap at the railway station, The University Arms on Brook Hill, The Shiny Sheff at Lodge Moor, The Manor Castle and the Carbrook Hall in Carbrook. Decisions are still outstanding on the Castle Inn at Bradway and The Cremorne on London Road.
Dave Pickersgill, Sheffield and District CAMRA’s pub heritage officer, said the group was concerned that pubs ‘continue to close at an alarming rate’.
“The Government’s intention is clear that local authorities should add assets to the list of successful nominations should the asset further, or has recently furthered, the community’s social wellbeing or social interests – which include cultural, sporting or recreational interests – and is likely to do so in the future,” said Mr Pickersgill.
“Without ACV status pubs can be converted or demolished without planning permission.”
The group also submitted two applications to Derbyshire Dales council. Its bid to have The Red Lion at Litton listed was approved and a verdict on The Bull’s Head at Foolow is due imminently.
Mr Pickersgill claimed the Sheffield applications ‘clearly reached the statutory test’.
“Sheffield City Council seems to be defining ‘community’ as people living in the immediate vicinity of the pub.
“Our concern is that the council are clearly gold-plating the requirements and that we will not be able to nominate assets in the future due to these boundaries.
“One specific example is the council requesting evidence that a pub was one of the most haunted in Sheffield - a statement originally clearly included to provide additional context, rather than a reason for the nomination.”
A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said: “We were not able to accept these nominations as in the council’s view they did not contain the level of evidence needed.
“We did invite CAMRA to provide further evidence but this still fell short and so the nominations were rejected.
“However we have agreed to meet with representatives of the local CAMRA group later this month so that both parties can discuss and better understand what is and isn’t required in order for a nomination to have a better chance of success in future.”
A meeting between CAMRA and the council to discuss the issue is to be held this week.
Last year figures revealed 46 pubs had shut across Sheffield since 2010.