Boost to community pubs with launch of review into restrictive covenants

Published on Tuesday, 02 August 2011 15:45
Posted by Scott Buckler

As part of the Government's commitment to the Great British pub, Community Pubs Minister Bob Neill today launched a review of restrictive covenants, a legal clause that can be used to prevent community pubs reopening as public houses following a sale (August 2nd)


Between 2004 and 2009 some 572 pubs are said to have been permanently lost following a sale with a restrictive covenant, potentially depriving thousands of regulars of an important community asset.

A covenant can have a double whammy effect, not only taking away a vital community hub but also preventing local people from being able to step in and revive their 'local' as a community run asset. By changing the use of certain restrictive covenants, communities would be given greater opportunities to use the new 'Community Right to Buy' power in the Localism Bill, which gives local communities the chance to take over and run much-loved local assets, such as the 'local', when they come up for sale.

Speaking at the start of the Great British Beer Festival, Bob Neill said:

"Pubs are hubs of community life, as important to the local social scene as they are to the local economy. Throughout their rich and diverse history they have proved themselves to be resilient, enterprising and full of initiative. But time is being called at too many of our 'locals', depriving people of treasured places to get together in the community.

"We are putting the people back in charge, giving them the power to step in and save their much loved community assets. Communities across the country are already stepping in to save their pub from closure. By reviewing this restrictive red tape we are giving people another opportunity to use their collective powers to ensure that their locals remain local and continue to thrive at the heart of the community."

One community already stepping in to save their treasured local is Hudswell village in North Yorkshire. When their local pub 'The George and Dragon' closed three years ago and looked likely to remain empty, local residents got together to take action. Forming a cooperative, members sought local investment, and about 100 members of the community put up funds that enabled them to buy the pub. The George and Dragon's garden is now the site for community allotments, the pub includes space for a small shop, a library as well as offering internet access and laptops available to rent.

Source: DCLG

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