Two historic Southwark pubs have been listed as 'assets of community value' under the Localism Act following applications by the Walworth Society.
Both lost their licences earlier this year following violent incidents, and both pubs have recently gained widespread media coverage as a result of stories first reported on the SE1 website – with the Thomas a Becket set to be sold at auction and The Elephant & Castle attracting squatters after Foxtons estate agents planned to turn the pub into a new office.
The decision to designate the pubs as 'asset of community value' (ACVs) means that full planning permission is required for any change of use, and there is a moratorium on the premises being sold to give community groups a chance to mount their own bid to purchase one or both pubs.
"Both pubs are of local historic interest and we want them to stay in use for local residents and visitors alike," said Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes.
"We are working with local residents to preserve heritage buildings along the Old Kent Road and this pub has a rich history for music and sport, with Henry Cooper training there.
"Both pubs have strong potential to continue playing a part in their neighbourhoods, and I am very pleased that we have been able to work with local communities and the Walworth Society to give these pubs a chance for the future."
Walworth Society chair Jeremy Leach added "The Walworth Society is delighted at this news as nearly all of our pubs have been lost at the Elephant and Castle and along the Old Kent Road.
"Recognising these pubs as community assets can help make sure that residents and visitors alike will have places to go to enjoy themselves and get a real sense of two places which are at the heart of the story of South London and a huge part of its identity."
The Thomas a Becket was due to be sold at auction on Monday but was withdrawn from the sale at the eleventh hour after the council's decision was announced.