IT was sad to see the King’s Arms in Downton approved for conversion to residential use (Postbag, May 8), despite the hard work of the local support group.
At a time when 18 pubs a week are closing nationally the Campaign for Real Ale has placed campaigning for pubs at the top of its agenda. If there is a pub in your community which if it was put up for sale or change to residential use you would join a campaign group to save it, now is the time for the support group to be formed, even if the pub is currently in safe hands.
Now is the time to apply for it to registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV); if you wait until it is on the market it is too late. An ACV listing allows you to request a six-month delay in the sale, time for community buy out or community supported purchases to be set up.
It isn’t a right to buy but it can save a pub, and several across the country have been saved by this action.
Applications for change of use by the current owner are also harder for the council to approve if the pub is listed as an Asset of Community Value. Go to the Wiltshire Council website for more information.
I would urge everyone who thinks that the British Pub is an important part of our culture and society, even if you never visit one yourself, to do something about the current state of affairs.
We are lobbying government to act on the unfair business practices they have recognised as being present in the pub trade.
You can sign a petition at pubscandal.org.uk or camra.org.uk. Don’t wait until its going – act now to save your local.
Hilary Bird, Salisbury & South Wiltshire CAMRA