COMMUNITIES should have their powers to preserve local assets such as pubs and post offices strengthened, according to MPs.
Of the 122 cases where bids have been submitted to save ‘assets of community value’ (ACV), half have been unsuccessful, the Communities and Local Government Committee of MPs found.
In an effort to prevent areas losing vital services, the Government introduced the right for communities to register buildings such as pubs as important local assets and to bid to run them should they come up for sale.
The Campaign for Real Ale revealed in December that 25 pubs in Yorkshire have been registered to try and protect them.
The committee’s report, published today, finds that while it is relatively straightforward to register an asset, groups still find it hard to successfully bid when the property is put up for sale.
It recommends extending the time given to groups to lodge bids from six to nine months and increasing awareness of the community ‘right to bid’.
The Government has already responded to concerns that pubs registered as community assets were being changed to supermarkets under planning rules known as permitted development.
Ministers have removed the loophole so in future planning permission will be needed to change the use of a community asset.
Committee chairman Clive Betts, the Sheffield South East MP, welcomed the change, adding: “Having said that, we still want Ministers to spell out the detail to ensure that a pub with ACV status can’t just be sold, lose its ACV status and its protection from change of use, and then be converted to something else overnight.”