The Manor House, Otley: Pub campaigners furious after historic Yorkshire inn is sold for 'other use' despite offers from local breweries
The Manor House in Otley went up for the sale in summer 2022, when owners Thwaites Brewery put it on the market after the last tenants left.
The building was a confectioner’s house before becoming licensed premises in the 1860s, and occupies a prominent position opposite the town maypole.
It has Asset of Community Value status, meaning groups interested in running it could register before it went onto the open market.
A community pub group had been formed to attempt to take over The Manor House, but the site has now been sold to a bidder whose identity has not been disclosed and who will not run it as a public house.
Otley Pub Club allege that emails from members were ignored, as was an expression of interest from a local independent brewery. Thwaites had already refused an offer earlier this year from another brewery.
The campaigners hope that the pub will be saved if Leeds City Council refuses planning permission for the new owner’s development scheme, as yet unknown.
The Manor is known for its Irish heritage. It is named after Thomas Constable’s nearby home, and pays tribute to how he and his sister helped refugees fleeing Ireland’s 19th-century famines and social unrest to start new lives in Otley. Several of these families later became the landlords of the pub, and the most recent tenants put on Irish music and folk nights.
Otley Pub Club said: “The fact that Thwaites turned down a reasonable bid as for the Manor as a pub shows that it is clearly a viable pub. Otley Pub Club will be objecting to any applications to convert or redevelop the pub, which is a Grade II-listed building, and will be urging others to do the same.”
Their president Greg Mulholland added: “Otley Pub Club is appalled that the historic Manor House pub has been sold for alternative use, when it could and should have a bright future as a pub. It is heartbreaking that when an excellent local brewery is prepared to invest very significant amounts of money to repair and refurbish the Manor, that Thwaites refused their offer.
"Thwaites have known for several years that the roof was in need of repair and the damage this has done has been significant. Thwaites should be ashamed both of their neglect of this historic building and their decision to refuse the brewery bid.
“We will be making clear to the new owners and to Leeds City Council that planning permission must not be given, when there has been this interest, showing it is viable if sold at a fair price”.
Blackburn-based Daniel Thwaites said that they had received numerous offers, including an agreement which fell through, and confirmed the sale of The Manor House. The brewery no longer has any assets in Otley, but said it would continue to invest in the remainder of its Yorkshire portfolio.