Parish Council to reconsider stance over future of Henry Jenkins

Kirkby Malzeard Parish Council has agreed to reconsider its response to the nomination of the Henry Jenkins as an Asset of Community Value, following pressure from parishioners.

The Parish Council, which in February supported the unsuccessful planning application for the pub’s demolition, drew up its draft response to the latest ACV nomination last week. This argued that the prevailing view in the village was that while many felt the building should be saved, the Henry Jenkins should not be reopened as a pub.

However at a packed parish council meeting in the Mechanics – attended by 40 members of the public – speaker after speaker demanded that the parish council reconsider. A snap poll was taken of people in attendance and all but one said the ACV nomination should be supported. Parish council members then voted to defer their decision on what stance they should take.

A great deal now rides on the success or otherwise of the latest Asset of Community Value nomination – and the Parish Council’s eventual response could be a deciding factor. If the ACV is refused, the owner of the Henry Jenkins may be able to exploit an anomaly in planning regulations called “Permitted Development Rights.” This has allowed developers to change the use of pubs to offices or shops – without the need for planning permission – leading to the loss of scores of pubs up and down the country. Following widespread criticism, this loophole was closed on May 23rd when a change in the law removed Permitted Development Rights for pubs. However it appears that in this case because Mr Fielder had already notified the council of his intention to change the use of the Henry Jenkins to “offices,” he may still be able to take advantage of Permitted Development Rights.

This raises the prospect of the Henry Jenkins becoming the last pub in England to be lost through exploitation of a widely discredited legal anomaly! However if the Asset of Community Value nomination is successful, Permitted Development Rights will immediately be removed.

A decision from Harrogate Borough Council is expected later this month.