New hopes for a viable future for historic village pub

Villagers who have battled for months to save one of North Yorkshire's most historic pubs are now to gauge support over plans to create a community hub.

Campaigners outside the Henry Jenkins pub.
Campaigners outside the Henry Jenkins pub.

The Henry Jenkins pub in Kirkby Malzeard, named after a celebrated supercentenarian, has been the subject of a long campaign to save it from demolition. Now, after it was designated an Asset of Community Value (ACV), questionnaires are to be sent out over plans to bring back the 250-year-old pub as a ‘community hub’, built around a business of a bistro, coffee shop and bar.

“The chances are good that if we are able to buy the pub, it will be successful,” said Richard Sadler from the Henry Jenkins Community Co-Op (HJCC) group. “Experience has shown that around the country, where communities have got together, they use it. Feelings are strong that this is something worth fighting for. We think that the regeneration of the Henry Jenkins would be to the benefit of everybody.”

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Villagers had launched a campaign earlier this year to save the pub when plans were submitted for its demolition, with 150 people signing a petition and 90 letters of objection submitted to Harrogate Borough Council (HBC).

In July the group secured a victory when the pub – which has been closed since 2012 - was designated an ACV giving it special status for at least five years. 

Funding of £2,500 has now been secured from the Plunkett Foundation to put together a bid for its purchase, and under the programme HJCC is now eligible to apply for grants and loans of up to £100,000.

“It’s been a long battle to get where we are now,” said Mr Sadler. “Now it’s a matter of involving as many people as possible in that next stage, gauging support and asking for input.

“We are keen to make sure that what we do come up with complements the facilities that are already there.

“In the long term it should be to the benefit of everybody.”