Buildings which play a special role in the character of the area can be listed as an asset of community value (ACV), of which there are hundreds up and down the country.
Once a place is added to the list, it must be used to further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community for a five-year period, after which the property is removed from the list.
Listing a place as an ACV can protect it from substantial changes to the site and maintain its existing function.
There are five pubs which are ACVs and deemed important for the Reading community, some of which have been closed for substantial periods but have had impressive comebacks.
The Foresters Arms in Brunswick Street, West Reading, is going strong after a a seven-month closure from January to August last year.
Pub manager Aidan Byrne said: “It’s a very big communal hub for everyone around this area, so getting it back open is a big boost to everyone that lived in this community.
“People come to enjoy themselves, they are close together, especially up an down this street. It brings people together who haven’t been out of their houses, in some cases since covid for the older people.
“They come down here once a week to meet the other elderly people, so it’s a communal hub to have people meeting to enjoy themselves.”
The operators currently run karaoke nights and sports showings.
Aidan added: “It’s gained a lot of social value since we took over in August, we made a big statement that there are new owners, that was a big uplift for everyone that lives here.
“There had been a fair few months that it had been closed off to everyone.”
It was last added to the list in 2019, with the listing expiring in August this year. The new landlords of the Foresters also run the Victoria in Tilehurst.
The Rose & Thistle
The Rose & Thistle in Argyle Street was forced closed during the pandemic in March 2020, and reopened after more than two years in November 2022.
Since reopening, staff have re-established it as a hub for neighbours.
Audrey Keating, serving behind the bar, said that the pub has had a close relationship with the Argyle Community Church next door since reopening.
She said: “We do a lot with the church, we’ve done charity days and litter picks with them, we do a quiz night which is good for people to get out.
“We get quite a few older people coming here, we’ve got a whole group that come in every week, but we get a clientele that’s across the board.”
Landlord Paul Billington added: “We are family run, we welcome families, it’s a pub where anyone can come and have fun.”
A punter added that the pub hosts barbecues and bands, and is a great place to watch sport on TVs both inside and in the garden.
This cosy beer-drinkers pub has won multiple awards for its wide selection of real ales, and regularly hosts quiz nights and brewery tap takeovers.
Sam Hampton, an assistant manager who has worked at the pub for five years, said: “We have good beer, good customer service, there’s a friendly atmosphere and a neighbourhood vibe.
“We like to feature independent and smaller breweries, and we’ve started doing brewery of the month to support them.”
The Nags Head in Russell Street was last added to the ACV list in March 2021 and will remain on it until 2026.
The Butchers Arms
The Butchers Arms in Lower Armour Road, Tilehurst, is the latest pub to be re-added to the ACV list.
It was initially added to the list in 2016, with the listing being renewed in July 2021.
The Butchers’ listing is noteworthy, as the former Bird in Hand pub located opposite was converted into housing in 2012.
The Hop Leaf
The Hop Leaf in Southampton Street is part of the Hop Back Brewery portfolio of nine pubs.
It has maintained its place as a stalwart in the Reading pub scene, even as the Red Lion further down the same street closed in 2015.
The Hop Leaf was last listed in October 2020, and will remain there until 2025.