Grade-II listed pub dating back to 1700s to be turned into shop to stop it from becoming dilapidated

The conversion of one of Bradford’s oldest pubs into a shop will “diminish” the heritage of Great Horton – but would prevent the building from “declining into dilapidation.”

The Kings Arms in Great Horton

Bradford Council this week approved a planning application to change the use of the Kings Arms on Great Horton Road from a pub to a shop with two flats above.

The pub dates back to the 1730s, and is recognised as one of the oldest in the district.

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The application to convert the pub was submitted by M Shabir, and says the pub is currently vacant “having struggled to pay its way for some time.”

The smoking ban is one reason given for the decline in trade at the pub – which once acted as a stopping point on the trail between Bradford and Halifax.

The building, which is Grade II listed and in the Great Horton Conservation Area, dates back to 1739.

Although it was built as a house, it has been used as a pub for much of its history.

Paul Jennings – author of The Local: A History of The English Pub, recently wrote of the pub, saying: “When it was sold in 1889 to the brewers Joseph Stocks and Company of Shibden Head it was described as ‘the oldest inn in the district’.

“In its early days it was an important staging post for travellers and their horses from Bradford to Halifax before beginning the long ascent towards Scarlet Heights and the village which later came to be called Queensbury.

“To this end it offered stabling and a coach house and also had a slaughter house and butcher’s shop attached. It was an important centre of village life, as Great Horton was then separate both physically and administratively from Bradford.”

The application would see a two storey extension added to the building, the ground floor converted into shop space and the first floor split into two flats – a two bed flat and a one bed flat.

A derelict outbuilding behind the pub will be converted into a two bedroom house.

The application said: “The design approach adopted has been based on the retention of the building as an important element in the townscape of Great Horton as befits its history.”

On the plans, Conservation officer Jon Ackroyd said: “The loss of a historic public house use will diminish heritage significance in the conservation area. It is likely the use has continued since the 1700s. However the building does require a sustaining function and if the public house use is not viable, a sympathetic alternative is required.

“The proposal presents a sustaining use for important buildings which might otherwise decline into dilapidation.”

Approving the application, planning officers said: “The existing use no longer appears a viable proposition, getting the property occupied and back in an active use is essential to the buildings maintenance and upkeep, without this it can be anticipated that the building will continue to fall into a state of disrepair and more of the buildings character and value will be eroded.

“The proposal put forward also involves a modest extension, but any impact on the character and appearance will be limited and much less than if the building is not brought into use where it would be envisaged to be lost in its entirety at some point.”