Last orders for fire-hit Drovers

NARG 1304025AM2 Drovers Inn. (1304025AM2)
NARG 1304025AM2 Drovers Inn. (1304025AM2)

The Drovers Inn will not be rebuilt as a pub after a fire destroyed it last year.

Flames tore through the pub, also known as the Little Drovers, in Dallowgill, in the evening of Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013 and the building had to be demolished.

Now plans for a three-bed guesthouse to be built on the site instead of the pub have been approved, despite 42 objectors calling for the pub to be rebuilt as a community asset.

Neighbour Trevor Kitchen told the planning committee on Tuesday that the well- known pub, which had in the past played host to Bing Crosby, appealed to more than just walkers and shooting guests. He said: “It was a venue for celebrations for weddings and christenings – it was part of the community.

“The wider Yorkshire community had taken the Drovers into its heart.

“Why can’t a multi-purpose building be built?”

Despite villagers’ desire to keep the pub, the committee heard that the isolated rural pub was just not financially viable.

Planning agent Ian Cox said: “No matter what the outcome of this application, a pub will not be built and no amount of wishful thinking is going to result in a rebuilt pub.”

Chairman of the planning committee Coun Nigel Simms said: “I have seen the figures for the pub and would you believe you cannot rent a council house for the amount of money that business was rented for?

“The pub was kept open by the grace of the landowner.”

Harrogate Borough Council’s economic development officers agreed that a new pub would not be viable.

In a report to the committee they said: “It seems highly unlikely that a new pub, which would incur significant additional costs and therefore demand a significantly higher rent, could be financially sustainable.”

Despite this, Harrogate Borough Council officers had recommended councillors refuse the guesthouse plan, though the committee voted 8-4 against this recommendation, opting instead to allow Simon and Lynn Bostock to expand their successful Moorhouse B&B.

Coun Ian Galloway said: “This will allow an existing business to expand in a rural area.”

l Will you miss the Drovers Inn? Email with your memories.