Plymouth pub is protected from development using new law
CAMPAIGNERS were celebrating last night after 'victory' in their battle to prevent a pub being turned into student flats.
Plymouth City Council used a new law to declare a Greenbank pub an "Asset of Community Value".
This is the first time the new Localism Act has been used in this way in Plymouth. It will allow locals to bid for the pub on the open market.
The Friendship was threatened with closure after its owners went into liquidation. Pubfolio Ltd, which owned 219 tenanted pubs, collapsed in 2009.
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The administrators, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, put the Friendship on the market with Christie and Co for £165,000.
Landlord Bill Light told The Herald he feared that the pub could be turned into student rooms.
Last night Mr Light, hearing of the listing, said: "That's fantastic and a step in the right direction. It's made my day. I'm looking forward to telling my regulars and I'll be having a drink to celebrate."
Mr Light enlisted the support of regulars and councillor Steve Ricketts to help save the pub on Amity Place, where he has been the manager for nearly 17 years.
The group they set up – Save the Friendship Pub – was told they had succeeded yesterday after it was entered on the council's list of Assets of Community Value.
The council did not need the consent of the owner to put the pub on the list.
Cllr Ricketts said: "It's a victory. Hopefully now no one will be able to turn it into student flats and it can stay as a pub. Ideally the administrators will now take it off the market. And they won't be able to sell it at a higher price as student flats.
"Hopefully if they still intend to sell. The price will reflect what it is – a community pub. You would assume the price would be lower.
"The ideal would be that Bill Light, the landlord, is now able to buy it himself. If not, we will have to have a decision by all the members of the community group. This pub has been there since 1840 and we want to keep it."
The council has imposed restrictions, through the Land Registry, on how the owner may dispose of the Friendship. Mr Light said he had already made an offer for the pub.
"I think I'm in competition with a developer."