The Horseshoe, West Rounton: Owner of Grade II-listed Yorkshire village pub brands refusal of plans to turn it into housing 'unfair'

A move to convert a Grade II-listed country inn into a home after serving a rural community for more than 160 years has been refused, amid claims the decision was made unfairly without hearing arguments in favour.

Stan Taylor, owner of The Horseshoe pub in West Rounton, between Northallerton and Yarm, urged North Yorkshire Council’s Richmond constituency plannning committee to be allowed to share his views on why he no longer considered the business viable ahead of councillors voting unanimously to reject his plans.

After listening to four objectors speak against his proposal and a brief debate by councillors, Mr Taylor voiced his fury over the proceedings, saying on arriving at council offices in Richmond for the meeting he had been ushered away from where he could register to speak.

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However, he was told council rules stipulated that he had needed to register in advance of the meeting about the proposed change of use of the building, which was registered as an asset of community value following the proposal being unveiled.

The Horseshoe Inn, West RountonThe Horseshoe Inn, West Rounton
The Horseshoe Inn, West Rounton

In the speech he was to make to the meeting, Mr Taylor underlined how he supported in principle the sale of the pub to the community, which had previously been “lethargic and disinterested”.

He highlighted how another pub in the village, The Grey Horse, which he and his late wife had been regular customers of, had been granted permission for change of use as it was not considered to be a viable business.

Mr Taylor said: “What is hugey ironic is that it was myself who led a campaign to object to this pub’s closure.”

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He said the majority of the Rounton’s community interest group (CIG) had “jumped on the asset of community value bandwagon as the fashionable and interesting thing to do with no moral conscience and little or no financial risk to themselves”.

Mr Taylor added: “I think their concern is much more about housing values.”

He said before its closure the pub had been “kept alive by outside trade to the benefit of locals, most of whom felt they could then pop in very occasionally, and when, convenient to them”.

The meeting heard the property had been on the market for the last year, but there had been little interest in it until Mr Taylor submitted the planning application.

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However, a Rountons CIG spokeswoman told the meeting there had been an “overwhelming” response from villagers to their campaign to save the pub and that they needed more time to put together a bid to buy it.

She claimed Mr Taylor had not engaged with the group’s attempts to gather information to create a community-run pub.

A parish council spokeswoman said it was hoped to create a community hub for both East Rounton and West Rounton, helping reduce social isolation amongst young mothers and elderly people in an area not served by public transport

Local member Councillor Annabel Wilkinson said the pub was “an invaluable community facility”, demonstrated by residents having pledged £55,000 to help create a community-run pub.

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Councillor David Hugill added the degree of community commitment was remarkable for the village he used to represent, weighing in favour of rejecting the proposal.

He said: “Things like this really do pull villages together.”

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