|HEBWEB NEWS REVIEW|
local pub closures
|Shoulder of Mutton, Blackshaw Head|
Blackshaw Parish Council Press Release|
24th September 2001
The current situation is that the larger part of the "Top Shoulder" has permission for Change of Use to Residential purposes. However the restaurant area has been excluded from this permission and must be retained as a "Bar/Community room".
This scheme was put forward by the current owners and was approved by Calderdale MBC in June last year. Previously planners had refused an application for Change of Use of the whole property. This was because the Planning Committee, confirmed subsequently at an appeal by a Planning Inspector, recognised the importance of the amenity value of the Shoulder of Mutton to the community of Blackshaw Head village.
Calderdale planners have also given outline approval for a pair of semi-detached houses on part of the pubs car park. However, at the same time they also placed a legal condition on this permission such that no construction work can commence until the Bar/Community room is available for use.
Earlier this year, outline plans were approved for demolition of the pubs kitchen area and its replacement with a detached house. Most recently, planners have refused a further application for Change of Use for the restaurant area. Clearly this would have had the effect of getting rid of the Bar/Community room/amenity requirement
Blackshaw Parish Council has consistently held the view that the Shoulder of Mutton is a vital amenity at the village centre, being the only community resource other than the Methodist Chapel. The council would very much prefer to see the whole pub re-open, thereby restoring important facilities including the restaurant, separate bar areas and the bed and breakfast accommodation. Potential exists for additional facilities such as a childrens play area, seminar/function facilities and "telecottaging/cyber cafe" facilities and we would support such moves.
The council is still aware of private parties interested in the possibility of acquiring the whole premises as a business. Recently there has also been some interest expressed within the community in the possibility of setting up a consortium. Clearly any purchase on this basis would only be feasible at a price based on its value as a pub business. To the best of the councils knowledge the premises have only been offered for sale as a potential dwelling house and at a price which would be unlikely to attract anyone interested in running a business venture. Enquiries have so far failed to clearly establish whether the restaurant area is included in what has been placed on the market or whether any attempt whatsoever has been made to place this section of the premises on the market as a separate entity.
As far as the council is aware, no work has yet begun to convert the restaurant area to the previously mentioned Bar/Community room in line with the currently approved plans. Blackshaw Parish Council feels that this room is inadequate for providing the village with the community amenities it requires. At best the plans could offer little more than a licensed café, providing perhaps microwaved food, alcohol and coffee for the benefit of locals and visitors such as walkers passing through the village. Nevertheless, the Parish Council has indicated that if this reduced facility were to be created and made available for use, then, should no other parties come forward wishing to take this on board, and, assuming a reasonable rent could be agreed, the council would themselves endeavour get the business started, probably using some voluntary labour and bearing any initial losses as necessary.
At this time Blackshaw Parish Council has information to suggest that the owners may becoming more interested in a sale of some or all of the property. We are seeking clarification of exactly what may be on offer and in anticipation of this being more positive we would urge anyone interested in becoming involved financially or otherwise in a project to get some form of amenity back up and running in our village to get in touch with either the council or, if appropriate, directly with the property agents, messrs. Reed Rains in Hebden Bridge.
|Nutclough closure plans accepted by Calderdale|
Wednesday, August 15, 2001
Yesterday evening, Calderdale councillors granted permission for the conversion of the popular Nutclough pub into housing. This was in spite of the opposition to the plans by Hebden Royd Council who argued that its loss would cause damage to the tourist industry, and that the landlord had not effectively marketed the pub. The pub will be converted into two houses.
Several pubs have closed in the area in the past few years and the neighbouring Nutclough Tavern has been closed now for six months. So far these have been mainly pubs outside Hebden Bridge centre - the Mount Skip, top Shoulder of Mutton and The Woodman.
If you have views about this proposed closure, make use of the Hebweb Discussion Forum.
PLANNING MEETING DATE SET FOR SHOULDER OF MUTTON|
Tuesday, June 13, 2000
Calderdale Planning Committee will consider the two outstanding applications for the Shoulder of Mutton, Blackshaw Head, at their meeting on Tuesday 20th June. In January the committee refused a change of use proposal for the Shoulder of Mutton public house, agreeing with the views of objectors and Blackshaw Parish Council that the business provided an important amenity for the village of Blackshaw Head.
Since then the new owners have applied for outline permission to build two houses on the pubs car park. Most recently they have re-submitted their application for change of use to residential for the main building the latter with a change to retain the existing restaurant room and toilet facilities as a pub/community room.
Both the pub and its car park have a critical amenity value to the community. At the time of the original application, it was pointed out that the Shoulder of Mutton is the only pub in the village of Blackshaw Head, and its position effectively defines the centre of an otherwise loosely composed settlement. As such its role and potential in developing the community cannot be underestimated. The other pubs in the parish are both at its extreme boundaries, some distance from the village, and although these are also very important and worthy of support, they are not as well placed as the "Top Shoulder to fulfil a role as effective community centre for the village".
The proposed retention of the restaurant as a "community facility" is far too small to provide anything but the most basic café facilities, and once bar and food preparation areas have been set aside, there will hardly be any room left for customers to frequent. It would be badly placed to attract passing trade from tourists, etc and the toilet facilities would be inaccessible to disabled people. In any case, due to the development of the car park, there would be hardly anywhere for patrons to park. It is unclear how the proposed room could be organised but presumably the present owner or whoever bought the remaining, residential property would charge a rent on the community facility and thus could decide to close the facility at any time.
There is virtually no other off road parking available in the area. Although it is private car park, principally for patrons, previous landlords have been pleased to allow parking for village events, such as Blackshaw Heads annual fete, and for guided walks, etc. as there is usually a bonus in trade to the pub from the car users as a result. If this facility is lost, the level of off road parking in the village may at times become unmanageable and some new facilities may ultimately have to be created with attendant loss of agricultural land/countryside. Conceivably it may become impossible to hold some of these events which will inevitably result in further loss to our village life.
Because of the importance of this amenity to the village, the parish council has already begun exploring the possibility of attempting to raise funding by grants and subscriptions to purchase the premises for use as a full community centre possibly including café, bar, shop, meeting/performance room, training facilities and overnight accommodation for tourists, etc. However, there are known to be at least two private buyers indicating a desire to take on the business as a country pub, and it is understood that at least one of these made an offer in writing to the present owners some time ago. Of course until the issue of the planning applications is resolved, it is unlikely that the business will be placed back on the market.
Anyone who feels strongly that community businesses such as hilltop pubs should be given every chance to continue whilst people are prepared to step forward to maintain them, can still write, as soon as possible please, to Calderdale MBC at the address below:
Director of Environmental Services
Quoting references: 00/00049/OUT for 2 house on the car park, Shoulder of Mutton
and 00/41/00455 for change of use of Public House to residential premises.
Anyone wishing to attend the planning meeting should note that it will be in Halifax Town Hall on 20th June and that the items on the Shoulder of Mutton will be heard after 6:00pm.
Blackshaw Parish Council
Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, March 24, 2000
The Mount Skip Inn is no longer to be a pub. The owner, Andrew Marshall, has made a successful appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. After 200 years serving the community, the pub is now going to be converted into 2 houses. Councillor Stewart Brown who campaigns to keep rural pubs open has said that anyone who attended the public hearing and heard the balance of arguments must be mystified at the Inspector's decision. Many visitors to the Hebden Bridge Web pages have followed the story of our rural pubs closing
ANOTHER PLANNING APPLICATION FOR THE
Thursday, February 24, 2000
Only two months ago Calderdale Planning Committee refused a change of use proposal for the Shoulder of Mutton public house, agreeing with the views of the objectors and the Parish Council that the business provided an important amenity for the village of Blackshaw Head.
Notwithstanding this, the new owners are now applying for outline permission to build houses on the pubs car park. The effect of this current application, if passed, would be to remove nearly all the parking available for the public house and would therefore make it impossible for customers to park their vehicles once the business re-opens. This further reduces the businesss viability, and if passed, is therefore likely to herald some revised scheme or an appeal for conversion of the pub itself in the future.
The car park itself also has an important amenity value to the village as there is no other off road parking available in the area. Although it is private, previous landlords have been pleased to allow parking for village events, such as Blackshaw Heads annual fete, and for guided walks, etc. as there is usually a bonus in trade to the pub from the car users as a result. If the facility is lost, the level of off road parking in the village may at times become unmanageable and some new facilities may ultimately have to be created with attendant loss of agricultural land/countryside. Conceivably it may become impossible to hold some of these events which will inevitably result in further loss to our village life.
Because of its importance to the village, the parish council has already discussed the possibility of attempting to raise funding by grants and other means to purchase the premises for use as a full community centre possibly including café, bar, shop, meeting/performance room and training facilities. However, there are already at least two private buyers also in the market both indicating a desire to take on the business as a country public house, and it is understood that at least one of these has made a firm offer to the present owners, which apparently has so far been ignored. Clearly for any of these proposals to be viable, satisfactory car parking facilities will be required.
If you feel strongly that community businesses such as hilltop pubs should be given every chance to continue whilst people are prepared to step forward to maintain them, please write as soon as possible to Calderdale MBC at the address below:Director of Environmental Services Calderdale MBC
Quoting reference 00/00049/OUT
Tuesday, February 8, 2000
The owner of the Robin Hood in Crag Vale has decided to sell the pub. It has not opened since the New Year. The owner, Sidney Connor who lives in Newcastle, claims he has been unable to find the right sort of manager. Readers of this news section will be aware that three other local pubs remin closed - the Mount Skip, the Woodman and the Shoulder of Mutton in Blackshaw Head - more details of other closures.
Friday, December 17, 1999
from Chris Lund
The Planning Meeting at Calderdale MBC to consider the Change of Use proposal for the Shoulder of Mutton, Blackshaw Head has now been scheduled.
The meeting will be at the Town Hall in Halifax on Tuesday, 21st December 1999 @ 7:30pm, (although the time might be worth checking!).
A good show of support at this meeting by those who wish to see this proposal refused
and the Top Shoulder remain as a Pub and an amenity for the village would be very
helpful. Please pass this information on.
This page started off with news of the closure of the Mount Skip and the issues and concerns around the closure. Since then, several more local pubs have closed including the Woodman. Recently, we have learned that the top Shoulder is under threat so we have broadened the scope of this page.
Monday, October 25, 1999
From Peter Rowlands
Is there any forum for voicing one's intense disquiet at the imminent death of two notable public houses? It will mark small communities as ribbon suburban development when the focus for social activity is entirely removed. The car will become an even more necessary focus for people who live on my Wadsworth hillside or at Blackshaw Head. Am I being unduly cycnical when I wonder about the capital value of public houses as against residential property and my thinking that this makes them a profitable focus for development as housing stock? That the hostelry business is in crisis is undoubtedly a fact but the two pubs under scrutiny at the moment are in plumb positions with panoramic views and a palpable past in the communities they serve alongside having tourist interest. It is cogent that we do not have a rash of planning applications for public houses on the A58 ribbon or within the towns and I do not believe this to be entirely due to immediate access making such places more economically feasible. There are examples of public houses run with imagination and industry that thrive on Calder Valley hills. The Hare and Hounds at Old Town (Lane Ends), The Pack Horse at Widdop and the Top Brink serve as very good examples of excellently run pubs with appropriate investment in terms of staffing, imagination and capital. They are very different in focus and character but survive by providing quality and arousing our loyalties. Do we have to assume that Calderdale will capitulate to a laissez-faire decision regarding the two buildings and a little more of the history and character of the valley will implode. I am deeply pessimistic.
Sunday, October 17, 1999
from Chris Lund
Amongst the planning notifications in this Friday's (15th October) Hebden Bridge Times is an application for change of use for the "Top" Shoulder of Mutton public house in Blackshaw Head. The present owners and licensees have been operating the business for considerably less than one year before which it suffered a period of closure of several months due to the business failure of the previous incumbents.
|Friday, November 5, 1999|
Mount Skip owner Andrew Marshall has submitted an appeal to the Secretary of State for the Environment following Calderdale Council's failure to determine his application to convert the pub into housing. Cllr Stewart Brown (Lab, Calder Valley) is urging new and old objectors to make representations to the Planning Inspectorate to save the Mount Skip Inn. "It is one of the most interesting and prominent inns in the South Pennines, being an old drovers' inn and former Chartist meeting place, and in recent times, a location for scenes in the forthcoming film "Fanny and Elvis". It would be devastating if the Mount Skip were lost, so it is important to make the Planning Inspectorate aware of the depth of feeling in our local community against this outrageous and audacious proposal. Crucially, the applicant never made any serious attempt to make the pub business viable and I hope this will weigh heavily against the application," said Cllr Brown.
The appeal is to be decided by written statements which Cllr Brown said must be received by the Planning Inspectorate by 26th November. Comments should be sent to:
The Planning Inspectorate
quoting reference APP/A4710/A/99/103 452
From Derek Loney, 23rd September 1999
Although it is likely not to be possible for a community voice to be heard on behalf of objectors to the proposal to turn the Mount Skip Inn into two houses, it is important for as many people as possible to attend the Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday 28 September 1999 (from about 6.30pm) to illustrate the depth and extent of concern on the part of those hundreds of people who voice objection to the application.
Research has shown that the Mount Skip Inn is probably the only surviving inn in West Yorkshire to have served as a meeting place for the radical movement of the early 19th century.
In the late 1830s and 1840s the Skip was the headquarters and meeting place for a branch of the National Charter Association (see Dorothy Thompson, The Chartists, London 1984 p358). Known as the Mount Skipton Chartist Association with a membership of local handloom weavers their proceedings were reported intermittently in the Chartist newspaper the Northern Star. The Mount Skip is believed to be the only pub in the country to have given its name to a Chartist group!
The building was, in 1792, of three livings. One being the Mount Skip Inn - a drovers' inn on the ancient packhorse route from Lancashire into Yorkshire. Next door was a smithy that would provide for the drovers' horses, while the third living was a dwelling house.
On 11 May 1839 the Northern Star reported:
"WADSWORTH. - Messrs B Rushton and R Sutcliffe addressed a numerous auditory at Mount Skip, in Wadsworth, near Halifax, on Monday evening last, on the National Petition and People's Charter, and was most cordially received. Resolutions were passed, expressive of confidence in the General Convention, and their determination to aid in carrying out the objects contained in the Charter, in whatever way might be thought to be advisable by the Convention."
It seems clear that the Mount Skip Inn has, until its recent closure, fulfilled a continuous role in serving the local community as a hostelry and meeting place for well over 200 years. It would constitute a severe detriment and loss to the local community were it to be precluded from continuing that role while, additionally, it has held and could continue so to hold, an important constituent part in local tourism provision.
Wednesday, August 18, 1999
Postscript: Wednesday, March 24, 1999
The latest indication is that, while the planning application is not being withdrawn at present in order to "keep options open", the pub is being marketed to potential buyers interested to develop a business with tremendous potential. The pub constitutes a facility important to the local community on the adjacent hillsides and attracts many from far afield - walkers and tourists alike. The beer has been excellent, the food has been gaining a growing reputation, the premises are of a reasonable size and flexible while there is good car-parking. The position could scarcely be bettered.
Anyone with the enthusiasm to build on this could do worse than to contact the present owners with a view to possible purchase.