Assets of Community Value update – University Arms rejection called in

University Arms ACV rejection is ‘called-in’

 On 27th.September, Sheffield City Council (SCC) refused our application to register the University Arms (UA) as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).   However, a week later, the decision was ‘called-in’ by the opposition.

As soon as the decision was made public, the Sheffield CAMRA Chair and myself agreed to meet with Ccl.Jack Scott, the SCC Cabinet Member for Community Services and Libraries, who made the ACV rejection decision. However, before this meeting could take place, we learnt that the decision had been ‘called-in.’

A ‘call-in’ is intended to be used in exceptional circumstances when councillors believe that a decision has been taken in a way that is contrary to the council’s principles of decision making. It is not intended to be used to appeal a decision that is simply disagreed with. The Scrutiny Panel for the call-in’ will take place at Sheffield Town Hall on Thursday 20th.October (16:00-19:00). Members of the public can attend and ask questions.

The ACV rejection ‘reason for decision,’ includes:  ‘ The owner describes it as a ‘student pub’ suggesting that its patronage is only a section of the community. …. No evidence has been provided to the contrary.’

This statement is simply incorrect, a ‘student pub’ states that access is restricted to students: this is not the case. The pub is a long-standing entry in the  Good Beer Guide: hence, many visitors visit from far-afield.

The number of successful ACV pub applications which has been approved by SCC is pitifully small:  seven from a total of (only) 19 applications (5/15 from CAMRA). This compares unfavourably with the record of many other councils. For example, all pubs in Otley have ACV status and Aylesbury and Wycombe have listed over 150 pubs as ACV. CAMRA sees ACV status as a clear badge of honour for both owners and licensees. It is a clear indication that the pub matters to the community.

Our UA ACV application was submitted on 16th.May. Advice from CAMRA HQ was followed throughout the nomination process. In our opinion, and that of our colleagues in St.Albans, the application clearly reached the statutory test outlined by the Government. A decision should then arrive within 8 weeks of the application – it took SCC over 4 months …. unfortunately such a delay seems to be the local norm.

As part of this process, in late July, we received a six-page objection from a legal company, Pinsent Masons, employed by the owners of the UA, the University of Sheffield.  A number of items which ‘could be used to support the application’ are suggested by Pinsent Masons. However, legally, these are unnecessary. In our opinion, these comments were deliberately added in order to confuse the situation. We were given seven days to respond (which we did).

We were surprised to receive an objection from the University as we believe that ACV status is something of which any pub would be proud, especially as, judging from 2016 publications, the University and ourselves do seem to have many common aims and ideas. However, it seems that their long-term ambitions for the site outweigh other considerations. As previously reported, the University development masterplan, includes an option in which the pub is demolished.

Dave Pickersgill – Pub Heritage Officer, Sheffield and District CAMRA

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Andy Cullen

About Andy Cullen

Andy has been actively involved in CAMRA since the early 2000s after being recruited to sit on a National Younger Members Task Group. Since then he has held roles on the branch committee including Secretary, Membership Secretary, Magazine Editor, Chair and now Social Secretary. Andy has also been involved with the Steel City Beer & Cider Festival almost every year since becoming active in the branch.

5 comments

  1. the date/time of the Scrutiny Panel is causing a measure of concern. It is scheduled for the Thursday of the 42nd. Annual Sheffield CAMRA Beer Festival (these dates have been publicised for almost a year) – most active local members will be fully occupied with ‘beer tourism’ in Kelham Island at the time/date of the panel.

    It has been suggested to myself that the week/date/time has been deliberately selected in order to ensure that the local CAMRA presence will be as low as possible. I hope that this is not the case.

    However, for obvious reasons, we (Sheffield CAMRA) would like the panel date moved until later in October,

  2. the date for the call-in will stay at 20th.October; ”The schedule of bi-monthly scrutiny meetings are set earlier in the year around May/June time. For both pre-programmed items and ‘call-ins’, we identify suitable dates for agenda items based on the availability of relevant Cabinet Member/s, Councillors and senior officers as well as any particular imposed reporting timescales.”

  3. As expected, there was no change in the decision. However, we presented a series of questions to the Committee – a written response was promised – watch this space!

  4. University Arms ACV rejection – no meeting with SCC

    In late September, Sheffield City Council (SCC) refused our application to register the University Arms (UA) as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). The decision then was ‘called-in.’

    Our Chair and myself attended the Scrutiny Committee 20th.October, during SCBF42. The ACV rejection decision remained unchanged. However, we posed a series of six questions. In the meeting Ccl.Jack Scott, the SCC Cabinet Member for Community Services and Libraries, agreed to respond to our questions, in writing, within a week and also agreed to meet with ourselves. Such a meeting was originally promised in an email to ourselves dated 3rd.October.

    A written response from SCC finally arrived on 9th.November. However, despite reminders, at the time of writing, almost five weeks after the initial promise, no meeting has been arranged. SCC have not suggested a date/time or venue. They seem reluctant to meet with ourselves.

    There are currently two other ACV applications for pubs with SCC: both lodged by local community groups:
    White Lion, London Road – a decision was due on 3rd.November.
    Cherry Tree, Carterknowle Road – decision due 2nd.December

    The planning application to alter the ACV-listed Plough (Crosspool) into a Sainsburys received 157 responses from the public (151 against the plan). SCC have yet to make a formal decision, although this was due in late October

    In short, SCC are not keeping to legal deadlines, seem to be interpreting the rules in their own manner and do not seem to wish to meet with interested parties.

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