About the Public Sector Blog

The Practical Law Company is a leading provider of legal know-how and documents to business lawyers in law firms and working in-house. Building on our commercial expertise and long-established presence in the private sector, PLC has now designed and developed a unique online support service dedicated to meeting the legal information needs of public sector lawyers.

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Here, PLC Public Sector’s legal team, along with leading commentators and advisers to the public sector, give their views on recent legal developments  and encourage you to share your thoughts on newsworthy issues including public law, judicial reviews, data protection, freedom of information, equal pay and public procurement.

3 thoughts on “About the Public Sector Blog

  1. I wonder if you are able to advise me on the problems faced by our local community group with regard to an Asset of Community Value (ACV), The Rose and Crown at Chellaston, Derby, which was registered as an ACV by the Chellaston Residents’ Association in an attempt to save it from demolition? The pub, which is hundreds of years old and much loved by locals, is threatened with demolition.
    In January of this year, Lidl made an application to Derby City Council to turn the site of a local church (St. Ralph Sherwin) and the adjoining pub, The Rose and Crown, into a local branch of Lidl. The pub, which is owned by Marston’s Ltd., is due to be demolished under the scheme, in order to form the car park for the store.
    Chellaston Residents’ Association (CRA) successfully applied for an ACV for the pub in July 2015 and secured several parties interested in funding a bid to take it over for the community. However, a request to Marston’s for figures relevant to the running of The Rose and Crown led to them releasing one set of figures pertinent to the running of the pub, with details which were so difficult to follow, even the Pubs Advisory Service (whose help we enlisted in examining them), had great difficulty making sense of them.
    Marston’s refused to release anything further to the CRA, claiming that it had sent us all the relevant documentation, citing commercial confidentiality for not providing additional information.
    This, together with an alleged £1.4M on the table from Lidl for the Rose and Crown, led to a stalemate situation during the moratorium period and our backers withdrew. Marston’s later claimed at a public meeting organised by the CRA that it had a Memorandum of Understanding with Lidl to dispose of the Rose and Crown to them.
    We believe (but cannot seem to prove) that Marston’s and Lidl had a deal all along and that Lidl has offered Marston’s a great deal more than the current market value for the pub. The brewery is closing down hundreds of its ‘wet’ pubs in favour of purpose built family eateries, so it would favour their disposal pattern anyway.
    Timeline of significant events
    • 6th May 2015 – Statement from Lidl in Derby Telegraph: “Chellaston has long been an area of interest for Lidl and whilst we are not yet in a position to confirm the purchase of a site we hope to be able to do so in the very near future.”
    • Chellaston Residents’ Association applied for ACV status on Rose and Crown
    • 14th July 2015 – ACV granted by Derby City Council (DCC)
    • 9th September 2015 – Marston’s informed DCC of their intention to dispose, however the pub was not put on the open market, no ‘for sale’ signs were erected and no guide price was forthcoming.
    • October 2015 – CRA formed not for profit, limited by guarantee, company, Community Asset Saving Company (CASC)
    • 12th October 2015 – Full Moratorium Period triggered. CASC submission of plan to bid for R&C.
    • 20th October 2015 – End of Interim Moratorium.
    • CRA began talks with potential investors. Three serious investors identified. Talks also begin with Plunkett Foundation, who advised that government money will be available from mid-March, too late to help us.
    • CRA sought a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on the trees in the pub garden, which includes two oaks and a magnificent weeping willow. Officers decided to include all of the trees on the site, but there is opposition from Lidl and the Catholic Church, so it has to go before planning committee.
    • 27th November 2015 – Lidl announce their plans to demolish the Rose and Crown and Church and build a supermarket. It is rumoured that the church has been sold for £1M and £1.4M is on the table from Lidl. Investors know that Lidl are prepared to offer 3 to 5x market rates and withdraw interest.
    Lidl circulate information about the plans which contains the following paragraph:
    “We are aware that the Rose and Crown pub has been registered as an Asset of Community Value, which means that the local community has the opportunity to purchase the premises at market rate, within a set period of time. A planning application for a foodstore on this site does not affect the local community’s right to purchase the building in these circumstances.”
    • 3rd December – Lidl ‘Consultation’ exercise at Sherwin Centre.
    • 29th December 2015 – Planning application submitted to DCC.
    • 14th January 2016 – TPO ratified by Planning Committee. All trees on site covered by TPO.
    • CRA put efforts in fighting the planning application, but continue to seek investors.
    • 9th March 2016 – End of Moratorium. CASC unable to put forward a sensible bid.
    • 18th March 2016 – CRA arrange a Public Meeting at Chellaston Club. Marston’s announce that they have a legal Memorandum of Understanding with Lidl.
    • Petition to save the Rose and Crown soon reaches 1000 (presently stands at 1500+)
    • 13th April 2016 – CRA submit 130 page objection to the proposal.
    • Opposition to the planning application continues. The issue was highlighted on BBC1’s ‘The One Show’ in their British Pub Special.
    • ACV ‘Protected Period’ ends 9th March 2016

    The earliest that the planning application will now go to committee is 24th November 2016.

    It is understood that there can be only one moratorium period up to 9th March, but does the phrase ‘protected period’ offer any protection for the building? We understand that planning permission, if granted on 24th November, would legally allow the demolition crew to move in on the 25th. Is this the case?
    Is there anything in the above information that would lead you to believe that the terms of the ACV have been breached?
    Any help whatsoever would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanking you in anticipation,
    Yours sincerely,
    Graham Mansey

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