By Tatiana Aversa Sanchez
The Rose Hill Tavern has been sold by the pub company Enterprise Inns.
The 144-year-old pub in Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton, closed on Sunday 18 May and was sold on Friday 23 May.
It changed hands just after Brighton and Hove City Council tried to delay the sale by listing the pub as an “asset of community value” (ACV).
The sale has upset a number of people in the community including members of the Rose Hill Tavern Action Group.
According to Richard James, a member of the Rose Hill Tavern Action Group, the site’s new owner wants to convert the community pub into two houses.
Mr James said: “We don’t know the new owners sadly. But a resident has already spoken to them and they say that they are converting it into two houses and that they have a clause in the contract of sale that says it can’t remain as a pub.
“They still need planning permission to change from business to residential, something that the action group will not be supporting.”
Brighton and Hove City Council said that the site was listed as an asset of community value under the Localism Act.
The council said that the land and property owners were notified as were the current tenants and the nominating group.
The Localism Act listing requires the owner of an asset of community value to notify the council if the property is put up for sale.
The council will then announce the sale so that the community groups have six weeks to apply to bid.
If a group comes forward, there is a six-month period for funds to be raised to support a bid. At the end of six months the owners can sell to whoever they wish.
Mr James added: “Despite being listed, as far as we are aware this process hasn’t taken place. We are waiting for conformation from the council on this matter.
“The petition is gaining strength, with support from the Rose Hill Terrace Residents Association, the London Road Portas Group, London Road LAT and several others.”
According to Annabel Clay, of Tulchan Group, on behalf of Enterprise Inns, the sale was agreed before the application to list the pub as an asset of community value.
She said: “Enterprise Inns exchanged contracts on the sale with the new owner before the application for ACV status was made by the local community and granted by Brighton Council.
“The sale completed last Friday 23 May. The pub was openly marketed locally in Brighton and sold through Fleurets’ Brighton office with no restrictions on its future use.
Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Rose Hill Tavern was nominated for inclusion in our list of assets of community value.
“We assessed the nomination against statutory criteria in the Localism Act 2011, which led to our decision on 20 May that the nomination was successful.
“Inclusion on the list places certain restrictions on the owner if and when they wish to sell the property within five years of the date of listing.
“Unless an exemption applies, the owner must notify the council of the intended sale and must wait a set period of time to provide local community groups with an opportunity to express an interest in bidding to purchase it.
“Should an expression of interest and an actual bid from a community group come forward within the prescribed period, the owner may accept it but is not obliged to do so.
“Subject to these restrictions, the owner is permitted to sell the listed property to whomsoever they wish.”
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