Plans for the demolition of the Henry Jenkins were were decisively rejected today by Harrogate Borough Council’s Planning Committee.
Councillors voted 12-0 to turn down an application by David Fielder, of Fielder Holdings, to knock down the pub and redevelop the site with housing. There were three abstentions.
Richard Sadler, from the Save the Henry Jenkins committee, addressed the committee saying this was a clear-cut case of a speculative developer from outside the area buying up a once popular and well-used community facility and deliberately degrading it.
Several councillors asked Mr Fielder, who also addressed the meeting, why he had not submitted more evidence of attempts to sell it as a going concern. He was also asked why, if he wanted to sell it, he had stripped out the interior of the building.
Mr Fielder denied that he had turned away prospective buyers. But when this question was raised by a committee member, the Planning Officer, Mrs Jan Belton, confirmed that written submissions had been received from interested prospective buyers who had tried to buy the pub.
Mr Fielder maintained that his original intention had been to keep the Henry Jenkins as a pub but that he had received no formal offers – and this was why he had stripped out the interior.
He was supported by the deputy chairman of Kirkby Malzeard Parish Council, Coun Mike Hurford, who said the parish council were unanimous in supporting the application, that the village could not support two pubs and that the Henry Jenkins would conflict with plans to develop the Mechanics Institute Village Hall.
However one councillor pointed out that other villages had successfully brought back pubs previously judged not to be viable.
And the committee’s vice chairman, Coun Nigel Simms, who represents Masham, made the point that Masham has four pubs and a number of other licensed premises and he didn’t see why Kirkby Malzeard could not support two.
The application was also opposed by Kirkby Malzeard’s ward councillor, Coun Margaret Atkinson, who said she was reluctant to go against the parish council but on this occasion she could not agree with the stance taken.
- The decision is expected to be reported in tomorrow’s Yorkshire Post and Thursday’s Ripon Gazette