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Pubs for Sale

Are you thinking about buying a pub?

Is the pub for sale one that you would like to convert into a house or for another business?


Did you know that it is now much more difficult for developers who wish to demolish a pub or convert a pub for another use? Pubs now have improved planning law protection, which means that pubs are recognised as community assets and thereby require protection.

Campaigners across the county could see that many pubs for sale were being converted into houses, restaurants or for other business uses rather than remaining as traditional pubs.  A pub traditionally is a hub of a village and a place to meet locals and unwind from daily stresses. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) group brought to the attention of the Government a requirement to protect pubs in communities which led to the change in the law.

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How has planning law changed with pubs?

If you are wishing to either demolish a pub or convert the pub to be a house, restaurant or for another use then a planning application and a community consultation is required.

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CAMRA and Asset of Community Value (ACV) status

CAMRA’s campaign which started in 2015 was to provide support and to list pubs which were an Asset of Community Value (ACV). This list which grew to 3000 pubs of ACV status and was used to lobby the Government to remove permitted development rights for any pub regardless of ACV status.  The process required an interim measure to help safeguard against losing local valued pubs until the law could be changed to protect pubs which was ACV status.

Councils gain additional powers to protect pubs

Changes to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No 2) Order in May 2017 removed permitted development rights which previously had allowed the change of use of pubs and demolition to take place.

The order removes permitted development rights therefore in most cases pubs will instead have to apply for planning permission to:-

To be demolished

Change to a shop

Change to a restaurant or café

Change to a state funded school or

Change to a temporary flexible use 

Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017

Amendments were made to the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 to remove permitted development rights in relation to the conversion of A4 ‘drinking establishments”.  This change in law also includes removal of the permission to demolish “drinking establishments” thereby protecting pubs.

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Campaign continues to oppose pubs for sale being converted or demolished

CAMRA delighted in the change in law subsequently changed its attention away from ACVs which are no longer needed although in some in exceptional circumstances may still be used. If you are a community group and are wishing to purchase your local community pub then ACV status can still be relevant to aiding the bid to buy the pub.

Things to consider if you are buying a pub

  1. Pub Building Survey or Schedule of Condition – if you are buying a pub then a Building Survey is essential so you can understand any problems, find out solutions and costs before you commit to buy or if you are leasing then a Schedule of Condition legally appended to your lease will limit your liabilities and future costs.
  2. Due diligence – it cannot be stressed enough to scrutinise the pubs accounts, maintenance costs, operational strengths and weaknesses, current custom, market circumstances to name but a few areas to research, research, research.
  3. Freehold or Leasehold? – either owning the pub building, land and business or alternatively leasing the pub from a company or individual.
  4. Location, Location, Location – the position of the pub will have a huge influence on the success or failure of the pub
  5. Seek expert advice – there are several organisations which will help you to decide if the pub trade is for you such as The Association of Valuers of Licensed Property (AVLP), The Institute of Licensed Trade Stock Auditors (ILTSA) and The Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations (FLVA)

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Pub Schedule of Condition

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