Wait to see if Crown can reopen

Bosses behind a former Boston Spa pub faces a nervy wait to find out whether it has permission to reopen – nearly a decade after shutting down.

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 10:13 am
The Crown Hotel, High Street, Boston Spa. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

The Crown Hotel on Main Street, Boston Spa, has been empty since 2012 but Leeds City Council officials met to rule on whether applicant Further Afield Pubs Ltd can operate the site as a pub once again.

However, despite a meeting of the council’s licensing sub-committee taking more than two hours – around half being held in private – the panel did not publicly reveal what was agreed at the end of the meeting.

It comes just two years after plans to convert the building into a Co-op supermarket were rejected.

The licensee wants to serve alcohol from 10am-11pm on Mondays to Thursdays; 10am-midnight on Fridays and Saturdays; and 11am-11pm on Sundays.

The original application had requested to serve alcohol until midnight on Mondays to Thursdays, and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays – attracting numerous complaints from locals.

Speaking to the committee on behalf of the applicants, Neil Forde said: “It has been subject to planning applications to turn it into a supermarket – but both these applications were strongly opposed by local residents. Residents understand the importance of the building remaining as a public house.

“It was not our intention to run a late night entertainment venue – it is supposed to be a community pub and an asset to the community.

“As part of the application we received representations from both police and environmental health – it suggested additional conditions, and we agreed to them.

“We feel that in agreeing extra conditions, there are a lot of safeguards in the application which would promote the licensing objectives.

“Some of the residents are older – they might have appreciated having one to one conversations with us about our plans, but unfortunately due to the situation we are in, we were not able to do that.

“Without the community buying into the premises reopening, we wouldn’t have a business here.

“On the whole, residents are supportive of the premises reopening.”

Committee member Coun Billy Flynn (Con) said: “There are houses on three sides – a lot of the concern is about possible noise.

“Do you have plans in the future to talk to the residents about what you may or may not do about the difficulties they had?”

Mr Forde claimed the pub would want to hold a residents’ meeting before the pub reopened, as well as holding regular community meetings for locals to raise any issues.

He added: “It is important in these times to allow businesses to reopen and provide employment in the local area. We don’t want to do anything to cause concern for the local residents. If you grant the application, we have to set the noise levels, so there are other things that need to go back to the council before the premises can be opened.”

Although no local residents were at the meeting to object to the plans, numerous letters from members of the public expressed concerns around the lateness of the licence and the potential for public nuisance, littering and noise.

A planning application has been put into Leeds City Council in late 2017 to convert the pub into a branch of the Co-op.

However, Leeds City Council refused the plans on the grounds of lack of space for deliveries and customer parking in February 2018.

The approval is subject to Leeds City Council’s planning department accepting plans to convert the building into a pub.

After more than an hour of discussions, the panel returned to public session, only to briskly conclude the meeting, with chair Coun Jess Lennox informing interested parties they would receive the decision in writing within five working days.

Leeds City Council has been contacted to confirm the decision.