Plan to convert part of Henry Jenkins to housing rejected

Plans to downgrade part of the historic Henry Jenkins Inn to residential have been refused following more than 60 objections.

Only three people supported the application … and one of those was David Fielder, the Goole-based property developer who bought the property in 2012 – and who has since allowed the property to fall into a dilapidated state.

See Notice of Planning Refusal here

Thank you to every one who registered their objection – your action could be instrumental in helping to save the Henry Jenkins as a valuable community facility for future generations!

The decision notice from Harrogate Borough Council states: “The proposal would result in the loss of a community facility (public house) thereby reducing the variety of locally based community facilities to the detriment of meeting the present and future social needs and aspirations of this rural community.”

It adds: “No evidence has been submitted to demonstrate that the existing or alternative community use would cause unacceptable planning problems, that a satisfactory replacement facility is provided, or that there is no reasonable prospect of the use continuing on a viable basis or of a satisfactory alternative community use being secured.”

The Henry Jenkins Community Co-operative is now planning to make a formal request to the council to begin proceedings for a compulsory purchase.

The council has a duty to consider requests for compulsory purchase from community groups – especially in situations where the owner is unwilling to sell – or where empty properties are blighting the local environment. 

We are grateful to the council for its robust response in upholding planning policies designed to protect community facilities – however further action is now needed to break the deadlock.

Local councils have powers to make compulsory purchases under the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act  Under  Government planning guidance they have a duty to consider and formally respond to requests from community groups. The guidance states: “Local authorities should consider all requests from third parties, but particularly voluntary and community organisations … which put forward a scheme for a particular asset which would require compulsory purchase.”  It adds that councils should consider requests to use its compulsory purchase powers for community assets “that are in danger of being lost where the owner of the asset is unwilling to sell.”

It has been well documented that Mr Fielder has rebuffed at least three approaches from private prospective buyers who wanted to refurbish the Henry Jenkins as pub and restaurant.

In December he rejected a fully-funded offer from HJCC to to buy the pub for £180,000, its full market value as determined by a professional Valuation Report.  Mr Fielder has since stated publicly that he wants no further dealings with HJCC – despite the fact that our plans to regenerate the Henry Jenkins as a community-owned bar and bistro/ coffee shop are supported by the overwhelming majority of local residents.

We will be arguing that this is precisely the situation for which use of compulsory purchase powers is intended under national planning guidance. If the council does not step in, Kirkby Malzeard’s Main Street could be blighted by a disreputable, ramshackle property for many more years to come.