The Hermit Inn at Burley Woodhead put up for auction as a 'development opportunity' despite campaign to save it as a pub

A 400-year-old pub near Ilkley will be sold at auction despite a local campaign to have it listed as an Asset of Community Value so that it can remain viable.

The Hermit Inn, Burley Woodhead
The Hermit Inn, Burley Woodhead

Auction House West Yorkshire are marketing The Hermit Inn at Burley Woodhead with a suggested minimum bid of £425, 000.

Landlady Gillian Kelly closed the business last year, claiming she was unable to turn a profit due to Covid-19 restrictions. She then submitted a proposal to Bradford Council to convert the inn - a one-time haunt of Countdown presenter Richard Whiteley - for residential development, but her application was withdrawn before a decision could be given.

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A group called Save the Hermit were susbsequently formed to try and secure an Asset of Community Value listing, which would protect The Hermit from development and require the owner to offer it for sale to the community.

Nicholas Hooper from the campaign group said members are disappointed that the auction listing refers to the building as being an opportunity for 'investors and developers' as well as those interested in running it as a pub.

"Burley Parish Council have now made an application to Bradford Council for The Hermit to be listed as an ACV, which if granted will give the pub some limited protection. We are also canvassing support in the village regarding the possibility of raising funds to make a community ownership bid for the pub. Our bottom line is that The Hermit should, with a new committed owner, become once again a successful inn serving the local community, walkers and tourists."

Former Keighley MP John Grogan, who lives in Burley in Wharfedale, is involved with the campaign and added: "It is very disappointing that The Hermit is being marketed at the forthcoming auction not just as a pub but also as a development opportunity. The application to make the property an ACV is a clear signal to any potential speculator that the local community will fight hard to retain it as a public house."