Decision day for Scotton pub

Save Guy Fawkes Pub campaigners and Andrew Jones MP.  (130125M8)
Save Guy Fawkes Pub campaigners and Andrew Jones MP. (130125M8)

The future of a historic village pub is set to be decided by a council committee.

The Guy Fawkes Arms, Scotton, will be debated at Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee on Tuesday, March 26.

The pub’s owners, Punch Taverns, have applied for “change of use” permission to convert the pub into residential accommodation – a move which would see it close and leave Scotton without a pub.

Their application prompted an impassioned campaign from village residents, including a petition signed by more than 200 people, and a bid to have the pub protected as a “community asset” under new Localism laws.

This is the first time Harrogate Borough Council has faced a “community asset” application, and officers have warned the council could be forced to pay Punch Taverns compensation if councillors approve the listing.

The warning came in a report to council Cabinet in November 2012.

The owner of listed land is entitled to compensation from the council for any loss or expense the community asset listed causes them, the report says.

A decision on the community asset listing is not due until April 11, meaning that even if Punch Taverns’ “change of use” bid is approved the pub could yet be listed as a community asset, causing a six month delay on any sale and forcing the council to compensate the company for the delay.

However, a council officers’ report recommends the change of use be agreed, saying the pub could not be sold as a viable business.

The meeting will take place at Crescent Gardens at 2pm.