Blackheath Village

located in the heart of Surrey's beautiful heathland


The Villagers Inn

Confirmation of Asset of Community Value on 5 November 2020:

Notice under Section 91 of the Localism Act 2011
Entry of The Villagers Public House, Blackheath Lane, Blackheath GU4 8RB into the Waverley Borough Council List of Assets of Community Value
We give notice to you as the applicant that, on 5 November 2020, Waverley Borough Council made a decision to include The Villagers Public House (“the Asset”) on its List of Assets of Community Value (“the List”). Please see a plan showing the boundaries of the Asset (shown edged in red) attached. The Asset will remain on the List for a period of five years from the date it was listed unless removed with effect from some earlier time in accordance with the provisions of the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012 (“the Regulations”).
Inclusion of the Asset on the List is a local land charge under the Local Land Charges Act 1975. The Council is also required under Schedule 4 of the Regulations to apply to the Land Registry for a restriction to be added to the registered title of the land that “no transfer or lease is to be registered without a certificate signed by a conveyancer that the transfer or lease did not contravene Section 95(1) of the Localism Act 2011” (“the Act”). Under Section 95 of the Act an owner must notify the Council (at the following address: The Borough Solicitor, Waverley Borough Council, The Burys, Godalming Surrey GU7 1HR) if they wish to enter a relevant disposal of the asset.
Asset owners have the opportunity to request a review of the decision to enter an asset on the List, within 8 weeks of listing. The internal review process in relation to listing will be undertaken by a senior officer not involved in the initial decision.

Result of the Internal Review by Waverley Borough Council on 18 January 2021:

Firstly, I am satisfied that as a registered charity The Blackheath Village Society is eligible to nominate an Asset of Community Value (ACV) and that their activities are wholly or partly concerned with the local authority area where the asset sits.
Secondly, the test itself is contained in section 88(2) of the Localism Act 2011 and is in two parts. I will address these in turn –

(a) There is a time in the recent past when an actual use of a building or other land that was not ancillary use furthered the social wellbeing or interests of the local community …

In this case I have heard from both sides that the premises was used as a public house for many years. It was previously called The Volunteer and operated as a public house for approximately 150 years. The relevance of this is that case law has indicated that the term “recent” must be taken in the totality of use rather than the immediate past. Given the long history previously as a pub and that its former use has been established as one which furthered the social wellbeing or social interest of a community, I am satisfied that this test is passed.

Turning to the second part of the test –

(b) Is it realistic to think that there is a time in the next five years when there could be non-ancillary use of the building or other land that would further (whether or not in the same way as before) the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community)

To consider this part of the test I have taken legal advice on the threshold that needs to be applied in terms of whether something is “realistic to think”. I understand that the threshold to satisfy this test is a low one. The standard of proof is whether, in the decision maker’s opinion, it is realistic to think there could be such a use in the next five years. This is not the same as saying that the use will resume – just that it could. I have considered the information that all parties put before me and concluded that I could realistically see the premises operating as a café/shop/pub with a license as indicated by you nominator. Therefore this test is also passed.

I have therefore concluded that the premises known as The Villagers Public House, Blackheath should stay on the list of ACV’s. I hope I have adequately outlined the tests that I have applied and how I have applied them in reaching this conclusion.
The owner does have a further right of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal H.M Courts and Tribunals Service which they may or may not choose to take.


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