District first in village pub fight

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

Scotton campaigners are using a new law to continue the fight to save their much-loved village pub from closure.

The village has become the first place in the Harrogate district to list a “community asset”.

Scotton’s parish council has applied to see the Guy Fawkes Inn listed as a community asset in a bid to stop the pub’s owners Punch Taverns being granted change of use planning permission and sell the building off.

The parish council has submitted a formal application to Harrogate Borough Council, under parts of the Localism Act which only came into force in July 2012.

If the bid is successful, the village will have six months to make an offer to buy the pub as a community owned venture.

And the pub’s supporters have already started looking for ways to purchase the historic inn.

Parish councillor Lewis Denton, who is on the community action committee working against the pub’s closure, said:

The village will need around £300.000 to buy the pub, and as working capital, Mr Denton said.

“We have leafletted the whole village and surrounding areas asking people to pledge money to help buy the pub.

“Some pledges are starting to come in and we are quite confident we can do this,” he added.

The campaigners have spoken of hopes to see the pub transformed into a village hub with a community shop.

Punch Taverns have applied for “change of use” planning permission to convert the Guy Fawkes into residential accommodation, but so far dozens of objections have been registered with Harrogate Borough Council’s planning department.

Scotton and Lingerfield Parish Council and MP Andrew Jones have both registered objections to the proposals and a from around 200 village residents petition has been submitted.

The application is set to be decided by a planning committee in the next few months, and the campaigners plan to take their arguments in front of councillors.

Mr Denton said he will speak as a representative of the villages’ residents while another parish councillor will speak on behalf of the council.

A public meeting will also be held on Saturday, March 2 at 5pm at Scotton village hallto update residents on the campaign’s progress.