A long-running campaign to save a historic North Yorkshire pub from redevelopment has received a major boost – with the backing of one of the country’s foremost pub campaigners, “Pub Champion” Greg Mulholland.
Mr Mulholland, campaign director for the newly-formed Campaign for Pubs group, visited the disused Henry Jenkins Inn , Kirkby Malzeard, on Sunday (Oct 11) to help launch a new associate membership scheme and offer villagers support and expert advice towards their goal of bringing it back as a community-owned pub.
Mr Mulholland, former Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West and founder of the all-party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group:
In these extraordinary times it is more important than ever that we save pubs in rural communities and the Campaign for Pubs fully supports the campaign to save the Henry Jenkins Inn.
The community in Kirkby Malzeard have been heroic in their campaign and fundraising to save this important historic village pub and preserve a part of local history and heritage.
The Henry Jenkins, the only pub of that name in the whole country, has a very bright future as a community pub. There are many successful community pubs up and down the country and it is time that the Henry Jenkins Inn became one, allowing this famous inn to once again be back at the heart of the strong community of Kirkby Malzeard.
Share pledges from 180 villagers have so far raised £210,250 towards the £230,000 target for the purchase and refurbishment of the Henry Jenkins, named after the celebrated Yorkshire super-centenarian.
The associate membership scheme is designed to allow those unable to buy shares to contribute in other ways, such as fundraising or undertaking tasks during refurbishment.
Dave Robinson, chairman of the Henry Jenkins Community Pub Ltd, said:
We’re delighted to have Greg’s support and we look forward to working with Campaign for Pubs to help secure the future of the Henry Jenkins and other much-loved pubs in Yorkshire and beyond.
This pandemic has accelerated pub closures around the country – as the recent closures announcement by Greene King, has shown – but we’re part of a growing movement of people who want to buy and run their locals as community pubs. We know from evidence around the country that community pubs are better geared to survive and are very unlikely to close – because they are owned by the locals who drink there. Our associate membership scheme allows everyone to feel it’s their pub – whether they’re shareholders or not.
In these times there is even greater awareness of the importance of local communities. There’s an even greater need now for community hubs – recent evidence suggests increasing numbers of people working from home can suffer from loneliness and lack of human contact.
The Henry Jenkins Community Pub Ltd, which is supported by the Government-backed Plunkett Foundation, has made four formal offers to buy the pub above the price set by an independent valuer. All offers have been refused by the owner, David Fielder, who continues to submit plans to convert the pub to housing. To date, permission has been refused by Harrogate Borough Council planners, who maintain redevelopment would conflict with policy objectives to protect community facilities in rural areas.
Campaign for Pubs is lobbying for a change in the law so that no historic pub can be demolished or converted when a group or individual is prepared to buy it as a pub at the independently assessed value.
Mr Mulholland said:
It is appalling that so many pubs have shut over the years due to owners who put making personal profit ahead of the needs of local communities.
No pub should be lost when the community can buy it and the community of Kirkby Malzeard, who have shown such determination in raising so much money, must be allowed to buy the Henry Jenkins, a valued local pub in their village.
The local councils must stand firm and stand up for the local community and do whatever it takes to see the Henry Jenkins pub in the hands of the community. We urge the owner, Mr Fielder, to do the right thing and to sell this historic and wanted pub to the local community and to seek other opportunities to make money that don’t involve the permanent destruction of a valued community asset and piece of local history.
The Campaign for Pubs will support the campaign to save the Henry Jenkins in any way we can, we salute the community and pub heroes running the campaign and urge the whole village to get behind it and not only save but make the Henry Jenkins Inn a thriving village pub again, to serve Kirkby Malzeard for generations to come.