Asset plan still in pub’s sights

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Pub campaigners are still hopeful of securing their local as a community asset, despite their application being rejected.

Moves have been made to protect the Railway Inn pub in Pontefract by applying to have it listed as an asset of community value (ACV), meaning it would be granted some protection from future development.

MP Yvette Cooper, Maggie Senior, Paul Banfield  and Councillor Lorna Malkin at the Railway Inn, which has been saved from closure

MP Yvette Cooper, Maggie Senior, Paul Banfield and Councillor Lorna Malkin at the Railway Inn, which has been saved from closure

The pub was facing closure in the autumn because of plans to build 80 houses on the Mill Dam Lane area.

The news came as a shock as the pub’s inclusion was not mentioned in the planning application.

A campaign followed to save the pub which attracted more than 1,100 signatures on an online petition and had the backing of Pontefract’s ward councillors and MP Yvette Cooper.

Developers Towngate PLC, which had submitted the housing plans, eventually backed down and then offered landlady, Maggie Senior, another five-year lease.

Despite this, supporters were still eager to make the pub an ACV, which was consequently rejected by a panel of judges last week.

However, spokesman for the campaigners, Paul Banfield said they will push on and are still confident of making the pub an ACV.

He said: “It’s just a minor setback, and it should have been quite a straightforward process, but we’re confident we can get this.

“The panel has asked for certain criteria which they didn’t ask for originally but which we can get. It’s just been caught up in red tape but we’re certain it can be resolved.

“We’re getting the help of an expert who has helped six pubs in the York area become ACVs.”

As part of the Localism Act, successful ACVs applications will see a building placed on a list for five years.

During this time, if the owner decides to sell the property, they have to inform the council which then triggers a six-month moratorium period, giving the nominator - usually a community group - time to develop a proposal and raise the funds to be able to bid for the asset.

A meeting for the campaigners is to take place on January 3 at the pub where the next course of action will be discussed.