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Upper Tribunal reinstates decision by council to list pub as asset of community value

The First-Tier Tribunal erred in law in a material manner when it allowed a pub operator’s appeal over a council’s listing of a pub as an asset of community value, the Upper Tribunal has ruled.

In Russell v Bracknell Forest Borough Council & Punch Partnerships (PML) Ltd (general regulatory appeals) [2022] UKUT 75 (AAC) the Upper Tribunal set aside the FTT’s ruling in January 2020 removing the Rose and Crown Pub in Sandhurst from the lists of ACVs.

Bracknell Forest Borough Council had decided on 18 April 2019 to list the pub.

Allowing the appeal, the Upper Tribunal concluded that the FTT had erred in law on two grounds, namely in:

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a) deciding that the Rose and Crown Community Group of which the appellant was chairman, was not an `unincorporated body' for the purposes of Regulation 5(1)(c) [of the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012] by imposing a requirement of unanimity over its motive, policy and purpose; and

b) concluding that the test in section 88(1)(b) of the Localism Act 2011 was not satisfied because not all of the members of the Group sought to purchase the pub.

In its ruling the Upper Tribunal gave guidance on interpreting Regulation 5(1)(c) - the definitions of a voluntary or community body and an unincorporated body.

The Upper Tribunal remade the decision dismissing Punch Partnerships’ (PML’s) appeal against the decision of Bracknell Forest to list the Rose and Crown Pub as an asset of community value. It confirmed the decision of the council to include the pub in the list of ACVs.

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