Junction Inn in St Denys will be only the third pub in Southampton to
be registered as an asset of community value, giving the community an
option to bid should it ever go onto the market, and making it harder to
change the use of the building.
Assets of community value (ACVs) were introduced under the Localism
Act in 2011 to give extra protection to nominated land or buildings.
Resident Paul Jenks, left, said his nomination of The Junction for Southampton’s asset of community value (ACV) list, with backing of some 150 signatures from pub users, has been successful. He believes the pub’s significance to the local community extends beyond its walls, and that that is worth recognising.
“It’s a pub where all sorts of people drink – it’s not one section of
society or another. They’ve got a lot of community based activities in
there: the crib team, the darts team, the Friday night quiz, the meat
draw, people meeting before football – that sort of thing.
“But as a local I was surprised by the extent of the other groups
that meet perhaps in the community centre or the church hall: the Morris
dancers, a group of board game players, a chess club – all sorts meet,
and then go in the pub for a drink afterwards.”
The Junction Pub in 1947: the
landlady's son peers through the balustrades. The pub was first known as
the Wareham Arms in the 1860s, but by 1878 it was renamed the Junction
Inn referencing the major railway junction being built at St Denys, and
it was then owned by the Winchester Brewery.The pub was apparently
popular with American servicemen prior to the D-day landings as the
piano was in better condition than surrounding pubs.
Paul Jenks explained that the pub is already Grade II listed, so that also puts restrictions on what could ever happen to the building.
However he said that generally having buildings registered as ACVs
means any change of use would require planning permission, whereas at
the moment that isn’t the case for pubs that aren’t protected in this
way – the reason we’ve seen so many supermarkets where pubs used to be.
While there’s no suggestion the owners currently want to sell the
building, the community would be offered six months’ notice should the
pub ever be put onto the market, during which time an attempt to raise
cash to take over ownership could be made – and that has successfully
happened in various places around the country.
However, as we noted in 2014, while
a community bid might slow things down and offer some chance for locals
to take control, there’s no guarantee that funds could be raised or
that such a bid would even be accepted by the vendor.
Two other Southampton pubs are registered as ACVs: The Bitterne Park
Hotel on Cobden Avenue, which is owned by Enterprise Inns and currently
thought to be closed, and which is being advertised to potential publicans on their website, and The Bittern in Thornhill Park Road – both registered in 2014.
So will we see other locals in our area also registered as ACVs?
“If those pubs are serving a broad section of the local community,
and as far as I know they are, then why shouldn’t they be registered as
well? It’s a useful protection for local pubs,” said Paul Jenks.
Bitterne Park Hotel listed as community asset
Junction's re-opening ceremony in 2012 following the fire, on portswood.info
Asset of Community Value Register page on Southampton City Council website, linking to information on how to make a nomination
Assets of community value – Wikipedia
Protect your pubs as an asset of community value – article on Discover Southampton website 22/7/16
Exterior colour pic: L Weedy.
Article updated to reflect that the nomination was backed by signatures from pub users and not just from Paul Jenks.