New Headingley Wetherspoons would ban Otley Run pub crawlers on former Leeds Girls’ High site

Plans to allow a Wetherspoons pub to serve alcohol in a former Headingley girls’ school could get the all clear next week – but groups on the Otley Run would be locked out.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 12:52 pm

The pub chain was granted planning permission last November to renovate the Elinor Lupton Centre on the former site of Leeds Girls’ High School in Headingley Lane, and is now seeking permission to serve alcohol on the site.

But, as part of negotiations with Leeds City Council’s licensing department, Wetherspoons confirmed it would not allow entry to participants of the Otley Run pub crawl, due to concerns over antisocial behaviour.

The Otley Run has long been a favourite with Leeds students, running along numerous pubs and bars from Far Headingley, all the way down Otley Road into Leeds City Centre.

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The Elinor Lupton building, Headingley.

While it wasn’t made clear how the company would differentiate Otley Run-goers from regular customers, groups partaking in the pub crawl often wear themed fancy dress outfits, such as Where’s Wally? or The Smurfs.

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We appreciate that one of the key concerns of local residents, both for and against our proposal, is the issue of anti-social behaviour arising from the Otley Run.

“We can confirm that as a consequence of those concerns, that the premises will not allow entry to customers who are participating in the Otley Run.

“We volunteered this as a condition on any licence granted.”

The plans, to serve alcohol from 9am-10.30pm on Sunday to Thursday and 9am-11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, have attracted more than 100 letters of complaints from locals, including Leeds Northwest MP Alex Sobel.

His letter read: “I am concerned that the location is unsuitable being a heavily residential area and feel that Wetherspoons public houses are more suited to city centre environments.

“I must raise the issues of increased noise, traffic and potential antisocial behaviour including broken glass, littering and urination.”

He added that many residents would be concerned at the prospect of adding another pub to the Otley Run could increase the ‘danger’ to young drinkers.

Two petitions against the pub, one containing 126 signatures and another containing 53, were also received by the council.

Planning permission to renovate the building, which closed as a school in 2004, was granted at a meeting back in November 2019.

At that meeting, the developers claimed the pub would create job opportunities and bring a listed building back into use in a “sympathetic” way.

But some locals were worried that it would bring noise and antisocial behaviour to the area.

The council’s south and west plans panel passed recommendations to accept the application in principle and delegate further details to council officers.

The licensing hearing for the building will take place on Tuesday, February 11.