Ivy House reprieve sets precedent for Lewisham pubs

Southwark Council has taken action under the new Localism Act in order to protect The Ivy House pub in Nunhead / Peckham from being auctioned off for redevelopment.

The Ivy House had recently reopened but owners Enterprise Inns believed there were better ways to make money from a property portfolio than running boring old pubs and evicted the manager in order to put it up for sale.

The Council's decision to list it as 'an asset of community value' has caused the auction to be cancelled. It's a precedent which Lewisham Council should consider carefully, given the number of pubs in the borough at risk of redevelopment, despite being successful or rich in potential. Local campaigner Tess Blunden writes on the Guardian website:

Chapter 3 of the Localism Act came into force in September 2012. This allows communities to apply to their local council to have a building listed as an 'asset of community value'; the council can approve the listing if it considers the building's current use (or use in the recent past with a prospect of being revived) "furthers the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community" and is likely to continue to do so. With assistance from the Peckham Society, the Ivy House is now one of London's first assets of community value: Southwark Council listed the pub just in time to prevent its sale at auction.

However, the pub remains closed. How has the Localism Act helped our campaign, and how could it help other communities in a similar position as us?

It has certainly bought us time. The objective of the act is to allow communities time to put together a bid to buy an asset. Our successful application to Southwark means that a moratorium of 6 weeks is now in force, during which time the pub cannot be sold. If we notify Southwark of our intention to prepare a bid to buy the pub then a further moratorium of 6 months then comes into force to allow us time to prepare our bid.

A full account of the issue is available here on the Guardian co-op hub. Thanks to the guys on the Nunhead forum for alerting us.