Confusion surrounds the status of surveillance cameras at a pub with links to the Bronte family.
The Black Bull in the centre of Haworth is famous for being a favourite drinking hole of Branwell Bronte, the wayward brother of the Bronte sisters.
Next Wednesday Bradford Council will discuss a retrospective planning application for two pole mounted automatic number plate recognition cameras at the site of the pub.
The cameras were installed at the pub to prevent non-customers from parking in its car park. That move has proved controversial, with a number of people saying visitors who are unaware of the changes could be sprung with parking fines.
No planning permission was granted for the cameras, and a retrospective application was submitted.
That application will be discussed by the Council’s Keighley and Shipley Area Planning Panel next week.
But after an agenda for that meeting was published today, the company that owns the pub has said it is actually planning to remove the cameras “as soon as possible.”
Planning officers have recommended approval for the retrospective application, meaning the pub will be allowed to keep the cameras, on the condition that the poles that are fixed onto are reduced in height by a metre and that anti-climb spikes are removed.
The pub has recently closed – with owner EI (Enterprise Inns) advertising for a new landlord.
The 19th century Black Bull is a Grade II listed building and in a conservation area – on Haworth’s famous Main Street.
There has been 25 objections to the plans, claiming they were unsightly and that they were “ripping people off.” And the Council’s heritage officer H Meekings said: “The pole appears out of place and incongruous due to its location in an area to the rear of the public house that is already eye catching due to the existing timber fencing upon and signage.”
A report going to the planning panel says: “The applicant has offered to reduce the height of the pole and remove the anti-climb spikes in line with the Conservation Officer recommendations. This will make it appear less incongruous and lessen the impact on the Conservation Area.”
The report says many of the objections regard the morality of using such cameras. It adds: “The majority of the objections express strong opposition to the use of the modern cameras to manage the pub car park and impose unwelcome fines that it is feared will deter tourists and visitors from coming to Haworth.
“Many urge the use of other methods to manage the private car park. However, the car park is private land and it is for the landowner to decide how best to manage it and prevent misuse.
The planning process in this case can only consider the planning impact of the operational development – the erection of the cameras and the pole mounting, with particular regard to the duty to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area and the setting of the listed buildings.”
The panel meets in Keighley Town Hall at 10am next Wednesday.
However, this afternoon, after the agenda was published, a spokesperson for Ei said: “We are aware of previous issues relating to the security cameras at The Black Bull, Haworth.
“We are in contact with the supplier and will be requesting that the cameras are removed from the site as soon as possible. We’d like to reassure the local community that we plan on reopening the pub as soon as possible with a new publican.”