Last night, the Parish Council voted to nominate the Crown as an Asset of Community Value.
Public support was no doubt an overwhelmingly influential part of the decision and there were a few eyebrow-raising points made which I outline below.
Members of the public spoke of how the lack of a welcoming pub threatens local businesses, particularly those involved with tourism. House prices are also affected with some buyers opting to buy elsewhere due to Northwold's lack of amenities. One member of the public chose to live here because of the friendly community and the fact that we had a pub, only to be later disappointed to find out the pub was closing. Many were there to express their interest in pursuing every opportunity at a community purchase and indeed that is our primary objective.
Comments from the councillors were generally positive with only a couple of detractors. The point was made that the Parish Council could face the ACV issue repeatedly regardless of the nomination's success or failure. It was even suggested that the ACV process is a breach of human rights. It is quite normal in the democratic process to play the 'devil's advocate' in order to ensure that all sides can be considered but the legislation is clear, and just as the Borough Council follow their policy on ACVs so should we. If the Parish Council face this issue at repeated meetings then they will do so, that is their role in our community.
To suggest that a nomination is a human rights issue is merely clutching at straws and Councillor Peake made light work of this. If it were possible to nominate any object as an asset of community value then we would all be appalled to find our property had been nominated and we were bound not to sell for a specified period. However, the Crown is a 'public' house. I will add that the ACV, if successful, only gives the community the right to bid, not buy. It's a chance, an opportunity to improve our lot and one that many of us wish to attempt and the law allows this.
The vote wasn't unanimous but these elected officials represent us, the parishioners, and your continued presence made all the difference. Speaking to the audience afterwards it was clear that the calmly spoken Councillor Anderson was clearly well prepared and had personally taken the time to understand the legalities of the ACV nomination process. If others had also done their research, or attended more of the discussion meetings I feel positive that a decision could have been reached sooner.
Thank you councillors for your understanding and thanks to all those who attended. It was a long, drawn out process to get this far and the hard work is now beginning.
Subscribe to Save The Crown Inn
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox