Harrogate Borough Council’s Senior Planner, Mrs Janet Belton, has recommended that plans for the demolition of the Henry Jenkins should be refused.
This is obviously encouraging news – but the battle is not over as councillors do not have to follow this recommendation and could still approve the plans!
In her report to the Planning Committee – which will decide on the issue next Tuesday – she says: “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 present and future social needs and aspirations of this rural community.”
She adds: “Furthermore insufficient evidence has been submitted to demonstrate that there is no reasonable prospect of the existing use continuing on a viable basis – or a satisfactory viable alternative community use being secured.”
She says the plans, which would involve the demolition of the pub and redevelopment of the site with four new houses, would therefore conflict with Local Plan policy CFX and the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework.
She adds that any benefits from the modest contribution that provision of four houses would make to housing supply are outweighed by the harm from the permanent loss of a community facility.
Credit is due to everyone who has made their voice heard in opposing this application. Mrs Belton’s report acknowledges that a total 79 individual letters of objection have been received (and more objections are still coming in).
- It also summarises the arguments made by objectors including:
- Permanent loss of a public house as a community facility
- Loss of the historic pub building in the centre of the village, contributing to the street scene/ distinctiveness
- The building has been deliberately run down, with the interior stripped out and the fabric damaged
- The pub has not been actively marketed and offers to buy it have been turned down
- The pub makes an important contribution to the sustainability, community, economy and vitality of the village
The campaign save the Henry Jenkins has also received support from CAMRA, which is leading efforts nationally to save village pubs.
A representative of the Harrogate & Ripon branch of CAMRA, Allan Gauld, has praised the campaign to save the Henry Jenkins, saying it has prompted far more objections than any other campaign in recent years.
Mr Gauld, who has many years’ experience helping to save local pubs, supports the view that the Henry Jenkins could be successful again as a pub/ restaurant if money was invested in refurbishment and it was managed in the right way. He also says there is no reason why Kirkby Malzeard should not support two pubs – provided they are not both offering the same thing. “It’s not like a bakery or a bookshop – a pub is not just a shop that sells beer. It’s the whole quality of the experience that counts. The village won’t support two identical pubs, but two complementary pubs can quite easily be supported – the experience of other villages with two or more pubs has shown that.”
The decision by planning officers to recommend refusal follows a setback earlier this week when Harrogate Borough council announced that the nomination of the Henry Jenkins as an Asset of Community Value had been unsuccessful.
This is very disappointing but plans are already being drawn up to make a second nomination: there are concerns that Harrogate Council may not have followed the correct procedures. Research has also revealed clear that Harrogate’s record for approving ACV applications is far worse than that of any other council in Yorkshire – and amongst the worst in the whole country. Overall only 30% of ACV applications have been approved by Harrogate Borough Council. In neighbouring Richmondshire 100% of applications have been approved.
The full report to the Planning Committee can be seen here (scroll down to p34)