Oldham local listed as community asset as Co-op Party flies flag for community pubs

Local MP – and Party chair – Jim McMahon backed residents who want to protect the Daisyfield Inn

Daisyfield Inn, in Oldham, Greater Manchester, has become the town’s first Oldham pub to be listed as an asset of community value (ACV).

The listing gives the pub – the last one left in Bardsley, Oldham, after the pandemic forced two other locals to the wall – has greater protection from property developers seeking to close or convert it.

The move, which followed a local outcry against planning proposals to replace the pub’s beer garden with a covered shelter, was hailed by the Co-op Party as it highlighted its Love It? List It campaign.

It wants to help communities take the first step to protect the local places like parks, pubs and post offices from being sold off, and is aiming to list over 1,000 local spots as “assets of community value”.

The Party is also campaigning to give communities more powers to protect and eventually own their local places.

In March, Oldham residents submitted more than 70 objections to the plans for the Daisyfield, which sparked local concern that the pub would be sold off for development.

Now it has been registered as an ACV, it cannot be sold without the owner first notifying the council. Once the council is notified the community has six weeks to tell the council whether they intend to make a bid to buy the property; a sale on the the pub cannot be completed for six months after the notification date.

The pub will be listed as an ACV for the next five years.

The Daisyfield campaign was supported by the town’s Labour/Co-op MP – and Co-op Party chair – Jim McMahon.

In a Co-op Party blog supporting the Love It? List It! campaign, Mr McMahon said: “Pubs are increasingly at risk just because they are seen as ripe development opportunities, either by property developers or multi-national corporations keen to see every high street and main road a carbon copy.”

ACV registration is an important way to to give communities a say in local development plans, he added. “While this designation does not stop owners deciding to sell up, it does allow for the local community to step in.”

After a Bardsley resident got in touch about the Daisyfield campaign, Mr McMahon said he was “pleased to provide the application with a support letter, and absolutely delighted that the pub has been granted its status as an ACV, as its current use furthers the social wellbeing and interests of the local community.”

He added: “If we fail to protect our local community pubs, then our communities will be much weaker for it. At the last budget, a £150m fund to help communities take over local pubs and other vital spaces at threat of closure was established – but we also need systemic legal and regulatory change to give communities the powers they need to further widen ownership.

“More must be done to give power to communities to come together and fight to save their local pub. As isolation and loneliness only seems to get worse, it is vital we do not loose viable facilities.”

Recent successes for the community pub sector include the Locks Inn, in Waveney Valley on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, which was bought after the local community benefit society raised over £600,000 from a 1,400 shareholders in just three months.

The group, who reopened the pub in May, received support from the More Than A Pub programme, funded by Power to Change and is delivered by Plunkett Foundation working in partnership with Co-operative & Community Finance and the Key Fund.

Refurbishments are under way and members intend to use the More Than A Pub loan from Co-operative & Community Finance to advance two major projects in updating the sewerage system and access to the national grid.

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