The Packhorse has been on B&NES list of assets of community value now for over two years but two developments this month have made our pub slightly better protected than before.
No quick sale
Firstly, from today, the pub is protected from a quick sale again. It’s listing requires the current owner to notify B&NES should he wish to sell and that allows the community to delay any sale for up to six months while we prepare a bid.
Now, if you’ve been following our story over the years you’ll know that we’ve been down this road before. Eight months after the Packhorse was listed, Mr Sherry notified B&NES of his intention to sell. We duly made an offer and this was rejected. According to the provisions of the Localism Act, having rejected our offer, Mr Sherry could then, within a year, sell the pub to whomever he wished without further delay. He did not do so – in fact he rejected several other recent offers – and that year elapsed today, hence the renewed protection from a quick sale.
Changed planning law
Secondly, on 6 April, a little-reported change in planning law came into force. Briefly, it removes the existing permitted development rights on pubs listed as assets of community value that otherwise would allow their change of use (to, for example, a restaurant, bank or building society, or a shop) without further planning permission.
In practice, Mr Sherry has mentioned many possible uses for the building but never once described it as a shop, office or café, as far as we know. However, this regulation change will now remove any ambiguity: no matter who owns it, this building will remain a pub unless explicit permission is granted by B&NES for change of use.
In short, although we certainly don’t feel the need to put up bunting in the village these are definitely positive developments and indicative of a political will – even in far-off Westminster – to help save community pubs like ours!