On 16th May, Sheffield and District CAMRA submitted an ACV application for the University Arms to Sheffield City Council (SCC). Over eight weeks later, on 27th July we received an email from SCC which included a six-page document from a legal company, Pinsent Masons, employed by the owners of the pub, the University of Sheffield. This letter was an objection to the ACV nomination submitted by ourselves. We were given seven days to respond.
In our opinion, and that of our colleagues at CAMRA HQ in St Albans, this ACV application clearly reaches the statutory test outlined by the Government. Advice from CAMRA, nationally, was followed throughout the nomination process. The application was compared to successful ACV applications from other parts of the country. It is felt that the detail included was more than adequate to guarantee an ACV listing.
We were surprised to receive an objection as we believe that ACV status is something of which any pub would be proud, especially as the University and ourselves do seem to have many common aims and ideas. See for example, two recently published research documents Sheffield Beer Report and Pubs and Places: The Social Value of Community Pubs in which the IPPR commissioned colleagues at Sheffield University.
We responded to the letter, sending a five page document which refuted the observations made. However, this action by the university raises a number of issues:
- CAMRA sees ACV status as a clear badge of honour for both owners and licensees. It is a clear indication that their pub matters to the community. We do not understand why the university should be against the award of such status.
- A number of items which could be used to support the application are suggested by Pinsent Masons. However, these are unnecessary. In our opinion, these comments are deliberately added in order to confuse the situation.
Pinsent Masons LLP is an international company who rank among the top 100 law firms in the world by turnover. They have over 400 partners, a legal team of around 1,500 and more than 2,500 staff.
We await developments with interest.
Dave Pickersgill – Pub Heritage Officer, Sheffield and District CAMRA