Parish Council accepts most people now support plans for HJ regeneration

The Henry Jenkins: It could be a great community asset again

In a significant decision, Kirkby Malzeard Parish Council has this week accepted that the majority villagers support plans for the regeneration of the Henry Jenkins.

At a packed public meeting on Tuesday – called to discuss the future of the Henry Jenkins – the Parish Council raised  some questions about the methodology of HJCC’s Opinion Survey, which suggests that 78% of householders support HJCC’s plans for a community-owned pub, bistro and coffee shop with b&b. However they have issued a statement saying: “The responses so far do however indicate that the majority of residents support the re-opening of the whole building as a pub with ancillary uses.”

The Parish Council – which recently appointed four new members – also accepted that, while a revived HJ would complete to some degree with the Queens, this wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

“It was agreed that …if the Henry Jenkins were to re-open it would to some extent compete with the Queens Head but that this competition might also have some positive benefits for residents.

“The Parish Council does have a responsibility to protect local businesses and values existing businesses such as the Queen’s Head but whilst we want to ensure their successful future, we accept that this does not preclude accepting competition.”

We remain hopeful that in future everyone in the village can work together to help improve our community through the regeneration of the Henry Jenkins as a new and exciting amenity that  provides more choice for local people, helps to pull in visitors – and complements much-valued existing facilities such as the Mechanics and the Queens. 

Please register your objection to the latest plans to break up the pub – see below. (It should only take you only 10 minutes!)

The Parish Council’s comments were made as part of their response to HJCC’s  renomination as an Asset of Community Value that part of the HJ recently sold by David Fielder to one of his associates.

The Henry Jenkins was listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in July, 2017, following a long campaign by HJCC , demonstrating that the pub has been a hub of the local community for at least 190 years – and that many local people and community groups would like to use it again.

However because of a loophole in the law governing ACVs, it appears that when part of an ACV is sold, that part may have to be automatically delisted (and this is what Harrogate Borough Council have done in this case).

We maintain that the fact that part of the property has been sold is irrelevant: The pub in its entirety remains an important community asset for all the reasons set out in our original ACV nomination.  A decision on whether to relist the entire pub as an ACV is expected next month.

Plans to break up Henry Jenkins pub resubmitted

Plans to convert part of the historic Henry Jenkins Inn to housing have been resubmitted – in another attempt to sidestep planning controls designed to protect community facilities. 

In June an application to downgrade part of the pub – including the restaurant area, part of the lounge bar,  landlord’s living quarters above and most of the car park and beer garden – were dismissed by Harrogate Borough Council following more than 60 objections.

The decision notice 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 … or that there is no reasonable prospect of the use continuing on a viable basis or of a satisfactory alternative community use being secured.”

Now the same application has been resubmitted. The applicant’s letter argues permission should now be granted because:

  • The pub’s been been standing empty for so long 
  • There hasn’t been a firm offer to buy it (not true – HJCC made a fully-funded offer to buy the HJ in December)
  • There are plenty of other facilities in the village and “there’s no evidence the community cannot meet it’s day to day needs” 

This is just another attempt by Mr Fielder to frustrate the wishes of local people and bypass planning policies designed to protect amenities in rural communities:

  • He has trashed the interior of the pub, allowed the outside to fall into a ramshackle state and rejected numerous approaches from private buyers
  • In December 2016 he submitted plans to demolish the pub, claiming it was no longer viable (His plans were rejected)
  • In March 2017 he rebranded the pub as “offices” in an attempt to exploit a planning loophole that would have allowed him to demolish it anyway
  • In December 2017 he rejected HJCC’s offer buy the Henry Jenkins for £180,000 (its full market value determined by a professional Valuation Report)   

* The plan will be discussed by Kirkby Malzeard Parish Council tomorrow (Mon)  

Henry Jenkins (part of) renominated as Asset of Community Value

A new nomination has been submitted for the whole of the Henry Jenkins to be relisted as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).

The pub was listed as an Asset of Community Value  in July, 2017, following a long campaign by HJCC , demonstrating that the pub has been a hub of the local community for at least 190 years – and that many local people and community groups would like to use it again.

Earlier this year Mr Fielder sold off part of the pub to an associate – the part that he’s now trying to downgrade as residential. Because of a loophole in the Localism Act, it appears that when part of an ACV is sold, that part may have to be delisted … and this is what Harrogate Borough Council have done.

Now  HJCC have formally applied for this part of the pub to be relisted. We argue that the fact that this part has been sold off is irrelevant: The pub in its entirety remains an important community asset for all the reasons set out in our original nomination. If anything the case for protecting it has now become even stronger – as more and more local people have backed plans for a community buyout. This is supported by the recent dismissal of an appeal by Mr Fielder against refusal of his original planning application to demolish the pub. In his letter of dismissal, the Government Inspector stated: “What the work of the HJCC shows … in the shape of the level of interest, the money that has been committed and the initial national funding secured is that there is not only a clear demand and strong willingness to re-use the HJ for community purposes but also the proverbial money being put where the mouth is.” He added that he saw no reason why a regenerated Henry Jenkins could not co-exit beside the Mechanics Institute (something HJCC has always maintained).

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.

Parish Council declines to review Policy on Henry Jenkins

Parish Council members have resisted calls to carry out a policy review  – following fierce criticism of their past support for plans for the demolition on of the Henry Jenkins.

More than 20 parishioners attended a heated meeting of Kirkby Malzeard Parish Council on Monday – the first to be called since last week’s decision by a Government Inspector to dismiss Mr Fielder’s appeal against refusal of planning permission.

There was  outspoken criticism of the Parish Council, who supported Mr Fielder’s original plans to demolish the Henry Jenkins and redevelop the site with housing – and continued to support his plans after planning permission was refused.  It was suggested the Parish Council had still not shifted its position, one parishioner called on councillors to resign en masse and at one stage the meeting was suspended.

Speaking for the Henry Jenkins Community Co-op, Richard Sadler said the chances of Mr Fielder ever getting permission for his original plans were now very remote – but there were concerns that he would sit on the pub, continue to refuse offers to buy it and allow the building to remain in a ramshackle state for years to come.

Mr Fielder was asked by councillors if he would be prepared to enter into negotiations with HJCC, who made a fully funded offer to buy the Henry Jenkins in December.  However, he said he “did not trust” members of HJCC and would be proceeding with plans to split the property into three and sell off the “flat” on the first floor. As an Asset of Community Value, the Henry Jenkins can only be sold as a community facility and any change of use would require planning permission. Mr Fielder, whose position and general attitude was criticised by several parishioners, declined to elaborate on how he would sell parts of the Henry Jenkins or who he would sell them to.

In response to charges of bias, several councillors spoke to say there was no secret agenda and that they were trying to be even handed. The chairman, Howard Mountain, said everyone agreed that it was in no one’s interests for the Henry Jenkins to be left to deteriorate. However he said there would be no review of the parish council’s position until after  local council elections in May.

The Parish Council was presented with the latest interim results of an Opinion Survey being carried out by HJCC volunteers in Kirkby, Laverton and Dallowgill. Of 170 forms returned so far, more than three quarters of respondents support plans for a regenerated Henry Jenkins, based around the proposed core business of a family bistro, coffee shop and real ale bar. Once the survey has been completed forms will be handed to the Parish Council for verification.

Last month a Government Planning Inspector, John Morrison,  dismissed an appeal by Mr Fielder against Harrogate Borough Council’s decision to refuse panning permission for the demolition of the Henry Jenkins.

He said the decision was in line with national and local planning policies designed to ensure there was a broad range of facilities in rural communities. He added that he was not convinced that the potential re-use of the Henry Jenkins as a going concern had been sufficiently investigated – and that the owner had left the building in “very oppressive, dark and sorry state.”

Study Tour of Community-owned Pubs

Supporters of plans for the regeneration of the Henry Jenkins will this month begin  fact-finding tour of community-owned pubs with the support of the Plunkett Foundation, the Government-backed charity that provides support and expertise for community buyouts.

Study visits of combined pubs, cafes and restaurants in Derbyshire and Yorkshire are being supervised by a business advisor with experience of helping to facilitate successful community enterprises across the UK.

HJCC committee members will also be joined by  local supporters with business experience in the hospitality sector.

It is proposed money for the purchase and refurbishment of the Henry Jenkins should be raised with a combination of community shares, grants and loans. HJCC is eligible to apply for up to £100,000 in funding from the Plunkett Foundation as well as a number of other grant-giving bodies. At this stage formal pledges to buy community shares are not being sought – that will not happen until a fully-costed Share Prospectus and Business Plan have been published. Informal pledges so far been made to the value of more than £80,000.

Community bid for Henry Jenkins remains on the table

HJCC would like to restate that our offer is still open to buy the Henry Jenkins for £180,000, its full market price as determined by a professional Valuation Report. Our offer, originally made in December, has so far not been accepted by the owner. We remain ready and willing to enter into negotiations at any time.

 

 

 

Appeal against Planning Refusal dismissed

An appeal against refusal of planning permission for the demolition of the Henry Jenkins has been dismissed by a Government Planning Inspector.

The Inspector, John Morrison, said he was not convinced that the potential re-use of the Henry Jenkins as a going concern had been sufficiently investigated – and that the owner had left the building in “very oppressive, dark and sorry state.”

His decision follows an appeal hearing in Harrogate on January 31st. Mr Fielder claimed that the Henry Jenkins was no longer viable as a pub and that the council was wrong to refuse planning permission last February for demolition and redevelopment of the site with housing.

However, the Henry Jenkins Community Co-op argued that it was Mr Fielder himself who had ensured the pub was not viable by deliberately degrading the building, by failing to properly market it as a pub – and by refusing legitimate offers from prospective purchasers.

Mr Morrison agreed that the Henry Jenkins had not been marketed sufficiently as a pub – and that this was compounded by the stripping out of the pub’s interior.  He said in his Appeal Decision letter: “The appellant has stated that this was to present a blank canvas to show what prospective purchasers or renters could do but I struggle to reconcile this argument.

“Certainly, my experience of the building from my site visit presented something of an unfinished interior strip which also seems to have removed internal walls and doors without sufficient justification.

“This has resulted in showing a very oppressive, dark and sorry state that, in my view, would be more likely to put off potential interest than necessarily garner it.”

He said the decision by the council to refuse planning permission was in line with policies designed to maintain viable and sustainable communities – particularly in rural areas – by ensuring people had access to a wide variety of locally based community facilities. He also dismissed suggestions that the car park was too small to make the pub viable.

Since that decision the case for maintaining the Henry Jenkins as a community facility had been further strengthened by widespread support for plans for a community buyout. “There seems to be a very real possibility, on the strength of what I have seen, that there are options to re-use the Henry Jenkins in a sustainable way.”

This was supported by the fact that a fully funded offer to buy the pub for £180,000 was made in December by the Henry Jenkins Community Co-op.

“What the work of the HJCC shows … in the shape of the level of interest, the money that has been committed and the initial national funding secured is that there is not only a clear demand and strong willingness to re-use the HJ for community purposes but also the proverbial money being put where the mouth is,” Mr Morrison said.

“Whichever way one would like to look at it, £180,000 is not a small amount of money when it is committed from local people.”

The Inspector acknowledged that concerns had been raised over a possible conflict between a revived Henry Jenkins and the Mechanics Institute. However he concluded that the two facilities should be able to complement one another.

“Notwithstanding there may be some competing sales, there seems to be no clear reason why the two could not operate harmoniously, operating complimentary services,” he said.

  • HJCC would like to restate that our offer is still open to buy the Henry Jenkins for £180,000, its full market price as determined by a professional Valuation Report. We remain ready and willing to enter into negotiations at any time.The full text of the Planning Inspector’s Decision Letter can be seen here.

 

Strong Support for Community Buyout

We’re pleased to report that the interim results of an Opinion Survey being carried out across Kirkby, Laverton and Dallowgill suggest that a large majority of residents support plans for the community purchase of the Henry Jenkins.*

We’ve received further encouragement from the generosity of villagers who’ve said they would be prepared to buy community shares: So far more than £70,000 has been promised in informal pledges (at this stage there is no commitment). We expect this figure to keep on increasing as more survey forms come in.

We anticipate that community share issues will provide the bulk of the necessary finance for purchase and refurbishment: Experience from other community-owned pubs suggests that up to 60 per cent of shares may ultimately be bought by people from outside the village. The remainder will be raised through grants and loans. At present we are eligible to apply for up to £100,000 in grants and loans from the Plunkett Foundation. If we achieve our objective to buy the pub, there will be opportunities for grant funding and sponsorship from numerous other sources.

The HJCC is proposing the purchase and refurbishment of the Henry Jenkins as a community-owned family bistro, coffee shop and real ale bar with b&b accommodation. As well as this, villagers are being asked for their opinion on possible non-core services such as an artisan bakery, a sub post office, a micro library, a bunk house, a cycle hire shop or a games room for young people. What we eventually end up providing will depend on the level of support. Our aim is to consult as widely as possible and to complement – not compete with – existing facilities.

Once refurbishment has been completed, our favoured business model is to offer a tenancy for the core business plus separate tenancies for any non core businesses. This means services would be run like any other business with paid staff – not by volunteers – but the building would be owned by the community… and all profits from rental income would go to the community. This model has proved very successful with other established community-owned facilities.

We will shortly be carrying out a study tour of other community owned pubs in the North of England under the guidance of  business advisers appointed by the Plunkett Foundation, the national charity that provides Government funding and expertise on community buyouts.

As plans progress we intend to publish a fully-costed business plan and draw up a formal prospectus for community share purchases. We will also plan to set ourselves up as a properly-constituted community group, governed by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The Henry Jenkins Community Co-op, which is recognised by Harrogate Borough Council as a legitimate community group,  is run by a committee of 10-15 volunteers, whose original objective was to stop plans for the pub’s demolition – but who are now focused on plans for a community buyout. If you wish to become involved, please email info@thehenryjenkins.com.

* The interim results were handed out at a hearing held last week into an appeal by Mr Fielder against refusal of planning permission for demolition of the Henry Jenkins and redevelopment of the site with housing. Around a third of all households have been balloted so far. When all the forms are in they will be presented to the Parish Council and the results made public.

Appeal against refusal of plans to demolish Jenks

An appeal hearing was held on Wednesday (February 31st) to hear evidence for and against an appeal by David Fielder against refusal of planning permission for the demolition of the Henry Jenkins and redevelopment of the site with housing.

Mr Fielder contended that Harrogate Borough Council Planning Committee’s decision to refuse his application was wrong because – after being closed for more than seven years – the pub was no longer viable, that the village could not support two pubs and that plans for a community buyout were not supported by the majority of the village. Mr Fielder, who bought the pub in 2012, argued that if the Henry Jenkins was reopened, this would threaten the viability of existing amenities – including the Queens, The Mechanics and Highside Playing Fields. He also claimed that the council’s decision went against Government planning policies requiring priority to be given to new housing.

Richard Sadler, representing the Henry Jenkins Community Co-op, replied that it was Mr Fielder himself who had ensured the pub was not viable: By allowing it to fall into a ramshackle state and stripping the interior of all features, the bar, kitchen, internal walls etc; by rebuffing three prospective purchasers who wanted to buy and refurbish it – and by failing to properly market it as a going concern. He submitted the interim results of a community-wide Opinion Survey showing strong support for the proposed community buyout.

Dave Robinson, who also spoke against the appeal, said that if the buyout succeeded, there would be a greater choice of venues and, in the long term, this should benefit every one – including the Mechanics and local businesses – by encouraging residents and visitors to go out, socialise more and spend their money in the village. He pointed out that up to 100 new houses were now planned for Kirkby, strengthening the case for facilities and services to be put back.

Jan Belton, representing the council, said permission had been refused because there was demonstrable opposition to plans to demolish the pub and that there was a need in the village for a range of services. She reiterated their reasons for refusal, stating that it was not council policy to allow the destruction of a community facility unless a replacement was provided.

Members of the Planning Committee voted unanimously to refuse the application in February last year after receiving more than ninety individual objections and a 150-signature petition. The refusal notice stated: “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.”

In June the pub was listed as an Asset of Community Value, meaning it cannot be sold as anything other than a pub or other community facility.

A decision on the appeal is expected to be announced next month.

  • Mr Fielder told the inspector the sale had been agreed, subject to contract, of part of the pub and car park as a private “flat” – and that if his appeal was refused, this sale would go ahead. He also reported that he was suing Harrogate Borough Council for financial losses incurred by their decision to list the Henry Jenkins as an Asset of Community Value.

Formal Offer made for Community Purchase of Henry Jenkins

A formal offer has been made this week for the community purchase of the  Henry Jenkins.

A fully-funded offer was made to the owner, David Fielder, on Monday morning by the Henry Jenkins Community Co-op’s agent.  The offer is for the full market value of the pub in its present condition, as determined by a professional Valuation Report.

The Community Co-op,  officially recognised as a properly-constituted community group by Harrogate Borough Council, have issued a press release saying: “Mr Fielder has already indicated he would be prepared to consider a community buyout – we hope he will seriously consider this as a genuine offer made in good faith.”  Proof of full funding will be made available via the group’s solicitor following  formal acceptance of the offer.

The offer to buy the pub comes as local volunteers are in the process of carrying out an Opinion Survey in Kirkby Malzeard,  Laverton and Dallowgill  to gauge support for plans for the regeneration of the Henry Jenkins as a family bistro, coffee shop and real ale bar with b&b accommodation. Residents are also being asked to comment on options for possible additional services such as an artisan bakery, a micro brewery, a retail outlet for local crafts people or a sub post office.

The group has secured a £2,500 bursary grant from the Plunkett Foundation, the charity that allocates Government funding and provides expertise to help community buyouts. It is also eligible to apply for up to £100,000 in grants and loans from Plunkett. However, it is envisaged most of the money for the proposed purchase and refurbishment should be raised through the issue of community shares.

Plans for the demolition of the 250-year-old pub and redevelopment with housing were unanimously rejected by Harrogate Borough Council’s Planning Committee in February following more than 90 letters of objection and a 150-signature petition. In July the pub was listed as an Asset of Community Value under the 2011 Localism Act, following  evidence pointing to the pub’s pivotal role in the local community.  For as long as the Henry Jenkins is listed as an ACV, it cannot be sold as anything other than a community facility – and ACV listing is not due to  expire until July, 2022.

 

 

 

 

Misleading Information posted on Henry Jenkins building – clarification

 

 

Misleading information about the future of the Henry Jenkins has been posted on the front windows of the building by the owner, David Fielder. The true situation is outlined below:

The Plunkett Foundation 

This is the Government-backed charity that hands out grants and provides expert advice for community buyouts. It is suggested by Mr Fielder that plans being progressed by the Henry Jenkins Community Co-op for the purchase and regeneration of the Henry Jenkins do not qualify for support because there is already pub in the village (the Queens) as well as other facilities. This is not correct. The Plunkett Foundation has recognised the HJCC as a genuine and properly-constituted community group and confirmed in writing that it  “qualifies for fully-funded support.”  Plunkett has already approved a £2,500 bursary to enable a community bid and has allocated us a specialist adviser with experience of setting up numerous Community Hubs around the country. Plunkett has also confirmed that HJCC is eligible to apply for up to £100,000 in grants and loans towards the purchase of the Henry Jenkins. This does not prevent HJCC from also applying for grants from other organisations including the Heritage Lottery Fund. We are proposing the regeneration of the Henry Jenkins as a Community Hub that would complement existing facilities – not compete with them. This is in line with Plunkett’s advice.

Asking price for the Henry Jenkins 

The owner, who bought the Henry Jenkins for £150,000 in 2012, has set the asking price at £450,000 – despite the fact that it is now severely degraded. He has also insisted he will not allow internal inspection/ survey without payment of a £1,000 fee. We will not be paying an inspection fee and our agent has been instructed to prepare a detailed Valuation Report based on external inspection, market conditions and other publicly available information.

Alleged offers for the purchase of the Henry Jenkins 

The owner claims to have received offers for the purchase of the Henry Jenkins. If this is true, prospective purchasers should be aware that the entire curtilege of the property is listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) under the terms of the 2011 Localism Act.  This means it cannot be sold as anything other than a public house for four and a half years. If at any time in the future its status as an ACV is removed, we will immediately reapply for listing. Prospective purchasers should also be aware that planning permission for the demolition of the Henry Jenkins/ redevelopment of the site was unanimously refused by Harrogate Borough Council’s Planning Committee on February 28th. One of the reasons for refusal was that councillors were not persuaded that a genuine attempt had been made to sell the property as a public house. If it becomes apparent that the owner has continued to reject reasonable offers for the purchase and regeneration of the Henry Jenkins as a public house – including offers from HJCC – it is difficult to see how councillors’ concerns will be allayed in the event of any future planning application.

In the coming months the Henry Jenkins Community Co-op will be carrying out full consultations with residents of Kirkby Malzeard and surrounding parishes over options for the purchase and regeneration of the Henry Jenkins as a Community Hub.