Leeds town’s plight to protect its pubs

MP Greg Mulholland and members of Otley Pub Club.

MP Greg Mulholland and members of Otley Pub Club.

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A Leeds market town is leading the UK’s first test case to get all of its pubs listed as Assets of Community Value.

Campaigners in Otley have submitted an application to Leeds City Council’s planning chiefs in an effort to get better protection of the town’s 20 public houses.

They are an integral part of our historic town and part of its wide appeal.

Andy FitzGerald, chairman of Otley Pub Club

Long-term pub campaigners - including Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland - recently tabled a cross-party amendment to seek planning permission before a pub could be demolished or converted.

Campaigners in the market town argue that under current legislation the local community are not given a say under permitted development rights when pubs are closed and converted.

Andy FitzGerald, chairman of Otley Pub Club, said: “We are seeking to protect all Otley’s pubs with the status of Assets of Community Value because they are an integral part of our historic town and part of its wide appeal.

“As a voluntary community organisation Otley Pub Club has a successful track record of fighting to retain the town’s pubs.

“Campaigners have succeeded in pressuring pub companies in reopening closed pubs and encouraging investment.”

And he warned that the move could help to provide added protection to the town’s public houses.

Mr FitzGerald added: “If successful, this application will provide added protection.”

Local MP Mulholland, who is chair of the parliamentary Save the Pub group and president of Otley Pub Club, recently led a parliamentary debate calling for improved protection for pubs through the planning system.

Otley Pub Club was created by local supporters to campaign on behalf of the town’s public houses.

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