It could happen. Supermarkets and betting shops are targeting pubs for conversion because of a legal loophole that means they do not need to submit any planning application. And communities and councils, in many cases, are powerless to stop them.
The Anglesea Arms, one of the first and finest gastropubs in West London, on the corner of Wellesley and Wingate Roads, could be a sitting target for conversion. And they wouldn’t be alone. Currently, every week 26 pubs in the UK are lost forever, converted into supermarkets, bookmakers, pound shops and a variety of independent traders. Tesco alone have converted or demolished over 130 pubs in the last two years.
Pubs like the Anglesea should be rescued from the hands of developers at all costs. They are vital to improving community cohesion, being one of the most important places where people meet and socialise with those from different backgrounds to themselves. Do we want the Anglesea to become another Tesco or a Paddy Power? I don’t. So what can we do?
Fortunately, there is an opportunity to protect it from developers. Under the Localism Act 2011 we can nominate the Anglesea to be listed as an Asset of Community Value. This simply means that the pub is identified as a building which plays a major part in the cultural, social and leisure interests of our community.
But most importantly, it means that if the Anglesea were to go up for sale, its ACV status would allow us to stop the clock and have the sale postponed for up to six months. This could provide valuable breathing space to gather together a suitable bid to challenge any developer, who may lose interest when they realise their initial hassle free purchase will be anything but.
As in all things that involve developments and planning, the more people who speak up, the more we get listened to.So, if you love the Anglesea Arms and think it adds value to our community, you now have the opportunity to save it.
It’s very easy. You simply send an email of support to James Preece who is the officer at the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea looking after the registration of Assets for H&F. His email is: James.Preece@rbkc.gov.uk
So, if you want to keep the Anglesea out of the arms of Paddy Power, Tescos, Sainsburys, Asda, Costcutters, Aldi and numerous other opportunists, now is the time to act.