Bid to save village’s last remaining community building

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‘Not just a pub, a community hub’ is a rallying cry going out across Yorkshire, as villagers and community groups are come together to save their locals.

At Holywell Green near Halifax, a campaign to re-open the village pub has “captivated” villagers since it closed in January 2012, with plans to convert it into flats.

It was successfully listed as an ACV in March 2012 - the first in Calderdale - and although it is not currently up for sale, last month the owner withdrew the planning application. The campaign group is hopeful it will eventually secure the pub and turn it into a vibrant community hub, complete with mother and toddler group, book club and police and MP surgeries.

John Walsh, one of the directors of Holywell Community Pub Ltd, said: “It wasn’t just about the pub, but saving the only place the village had left. This campaign has brought the village together. We hope to put in everything a community needs to keep going. We want to be trailblazers”

The group received a grant from the Social Investment Business Fund, but need to raise around £350,000.

Mr Walsh added: “This has been a pub since 1822 so we don’t want to lose the facility. This is not just about now, it’s about putting a facility into the village that will be there forever.”

Around a third of the buildings in Yorkshire listed as ACVs are pubs. Dave Pickersgill, Pubs Preservation Officer at Sheffield CAMRA, said: “There has been an upsurge in people who want to keep pubs open. The act gives people who may not have any experience the time to try and make something happen.”

He has been involved with a group trying to buy The Angel at Spinkhill, near Sheffield, which was successfully listed as an ACV after the owner applied for permission to turn it into flats in May 2013.

In December, the owner notified the local authority that he intended to sell the building, kicking the six month moratorium period into action. The group has until June to raise the cash to buy and refurbish the pub.

In a landmark ruling in January, the local planning committee unanimously voted to refuse an application to turn the pub into two houses and a small bar, due to the site being listed as an ACV.

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