Asset of Community Value determination report - The Gate Public House, Caister-on-Sea
Application reference: CRB028
Nominated asset: The Gate Public House
Site address: 1 High Street
Parish/ward: Caister South
Applicant: Caister-on-Sea Parish Council
Landowner: Stonegate Group Pub Partners, c/o EI Group PLC
It is the decision of Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC), as the responsible authority, that the Nominated Asset does not satisfy the statutory test set out in section 88(1) or 88(2) of the Localism Act 2011 and shall not be listed as an Asset of Community Value.
- The Localism Act 2011 (the Act) and the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012 (the Regulations) set out the considerations and procedures that apply where a local community group wishes to nominate land or buildings for listing as assets of community value.
- Section 88 of the Act provides that a building or other land in a local authority's area is land of community value if, in the opinion of the authority:
- an actual current use of the building or other land that is not an ancillary further the social wellbeing of social interests of the local community; and
- it is realistic to think that there can continue to be non-ancillary use of the building or other land which will further (whether or not in the same way) the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community (s.88(1)); Or
- there is a time in the recent past when an actual use of the building or other land that was no ancillary use furthered the social wellbeing or interests of the local community; and
- it is realistic to think that there is a time in the next five years where 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 of social interests of the local community (s.88(2))
- Social interests include (in particular) cultural interests, recreational interests and sporting interests (s.88(6)). Social wellbeing is not defined in the Act or the Regulations and is to be interpreted in accordance with the natural meaning of the words.
Caister on Sea Parish Council submitted a nomination to GYBC which was validated on the 21st September 2023 for The Gate Public House and associated land including car parking at 1 High Street, Caister-on-Sea NR30 5EL (shown outlined in red on the attached plan) be listed by the Council as an Asset of Community Value.
The nomination was determined to comply with the detailed provisions of regulation 6 of the Regulations. The nominating organisation is a Parish Council which comes within the definition of a "voluntary or community body" in accordance with section 89 of the Act and regulation 5(1)(b) of the Regulations. The nomination includes a plan of nominated site, which is attached to this Determination Report.
The Public House and its associated land are within GYBC's administration area and does not fall within the list of exceptions set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulation and therefore is not excluded from being land of community value.
As required by Regulation 8 of the Regulations, GYBC has taken all practicable steps to notify the landowner and other interested parties that it is considering listing the land as an Asset of Community Value. Consultation notification letters were posted out on the 21st September 2023.
On the 10 November 2023 the GYBC requested that Caister-on-Sea Parish Council provide further information within the nomination regarding the how the nominated asset is considered to be an Asset of Community Value and how the current (or recent use) of the nominated asset furthers the well-being or social interest of the local community.
An extension of the determination date (to 24 November 2023) was agreed to allow the additional information to be supplied. An amended nomination form was received on 14 November 2023.
The applicant has made the following representations in support of the nomination:
The village of Caister is in need of new community, civic and administration space and there is no land currently available for a new facility to meet this need. The current Council Hall is not fit for purpose in the 21st century.
The existing public house has been closed for several months and in its current state of unuse attracts petty vandalism and litter. The building however is fully serviced, multi-roomed and would allow rapid conversion from its current vacant state to a functioning administrative and Civic Centre, potentially offering function rooms and social spaces to meet the needs of the Parish Council and the general Caister-on-Sea community.
The associated car parking space would allow residents better and more open access to the local government of their village and allow for community groups to offer their services and functions to residents and visitors.
The applicant states that nominated asset would be acquired via the sale and possible development of current holdings. The acquisition of financing would be from the Government's "Small Works" finance.
No letters of support or objection to the nomination were received by the Council.
Assessment and reasons for the decision
In order to qualify as an asset of community value, an asset must satisfy either the present and future conditions in Section 88(1) of the Act or the past and future conditions in Section 88(2) of the Act. Having considered the representation by the applicant, including an amended and other internal evidence gathered, GYBC are of the view that the criteria for listing under Section 88(1) and Section 88(2) has not been satisfied.
Section 88(1)(a) provides that the actual current use of the building or other land that is not ancillary should further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community.
The nomination form indicates that the building is currently vacant. However, there is evidence via press articles that The Gate Public House was reopened in late September 2023, and will continue to be open, at least until January 2024. Therefore, it remains relevant to consider the nominated asset under Section 88(1).
The building is currently used as a pub and includes the serving of food. This is a legitimate use that could be considered for listing as an Asset of Community Value, however, there needs to be a reasonable judgement upon the extent to which it would further the social wellbeing or social interest of a local community. Clearly a single pub in small rural village, or one which is community run, may have greater potential benefits upon a local community than one which operates alongside many others, or where a community is already well-served by other similar and well-located available facilities.
The nominated asset is located on Caister High Street. There are several pubs and similar venues located close to the close to the nominated asset including the Ship Inn (200m away), Kings Arms (300m), Branfords (500m) and the Caister Castle Carvery (800m) which all appear to offer a combination, or in part, the uses provided by the nominated asset. It is therefore considered that the existing community are already well served, and within reasonable walking distance, of a range of similar uses to the nominated asset.
The nomination form does not provide any evidence as to why the nominated asset should be considered as an Asset of Community Value, nor does it provide any evidence which demonstrates how the current use furthers the social being or social interest of the community. Rather, the nomination form focuses on the nominated asset's future potential as a new Civic or Community centre if acquired by the Parish Council.
On the basis that the nomination fails to provide this sufficient evidence, it cannot be reasonably concluded that the current use of the nominated asset furthers the social wellbeing or social interest of the community, particularly in the context of the availability of other similar uses already provided in the local community.
Having determined that the nomination does not meet the criteria for listing under Section 88(1)(a) of the Act, there is no requirement to consider the second stage of the test as set out in Section 88(1)(b).
As the nomination is not considered to satisfy Section 88(1) Act, the Council must consider whether the nomination meet the criteria to satisfy Section 88(2) of the Act.
Section 88(2)(1) of the Act provides that there is a time in the recent past when an actual use of the building or other land that was not an ancillary use furthered the social wellbeing or interest of the local community.
The building and associated land has been operating on/off as a pub and the serving of food for at least the last five years. During this period the other above-mentioned pubs and similar venues have also been continuously operating and serving the local community.
As previously discussed, there has been no evidence provided through the nomination form as to how the past recent (and current) use furthered the social wellbeing or social interest of the community. On this basis it cannot be reasonably concluded that the nomination satisfies Section 88(2)(a) of the Act, particularly in the context of the availability of other similar uses already provided in the local community.
Having determined that the nomination does not meet the criteria for listing under Section 88(2)(a) of the Act, there is not requirement to consider the second stage of the test as set out in Section 88(2)(b).
- In accordance with Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Scheme of Delegation to Officers, it is my opinion that the:
Nominated asset: The Gate Public House
- Site address: 1 High Street, Caister-on-Sea, NR30 5EL
does not satisfy the statutory tests set out in section 88(1) or 88(2) of the Act for the reasons set out above and will not be listed as an Asset of Community Value on GYBC's List of Assets of Community Value.
Alex Chrusciak (Interim)
Head of Planning and Growth
Decision date: 24 November 2023