The Yorkshire town of Otley has seen the first attempt to have every pub classified as an asset of community value.

The Otley Pub Club has applied to Leeds City Council for a blanket classification of all 20 pubs in the area.

The club’s chairman Andy FitzGerald said: “We are seeking to protect all Otley’s pubs with the status of Assets of Community Value because they are an integral part of our historic town and part of its wide appeal. As a voluntary community organisation Otley Pub Club has a successful track record of fighting to retain the town’s pubs and has succeeded in pressuring pub companies in reopening closed pubs and encouraging investment. If successful, this application will provide added protection.”

Parliamentary Save the Group chair Greg Mulholland, the local MP, has criticised the Government for the obstacles in the path of local authorities in securing ACV status. He complained that Leeds City Council faces costs of £1,070 for each ACV application, and while ministers say assessing each application should take 8.3 hours, it takes Leeds 16.6 hours.