YOUR SAY: Loss of The Skipton Pub

tis The Skipton pub.  (140321M3)
tis The Skipton pub. (140321M3)

Bilton residents have contacted the Advertiser to have their say on plans for the former Skipton Pub on Skipton Road.

The Skipton Pub in Bilton was closed by owners Enterprise Inns in February who blamed a fall in trade for the move.

Two weeks ago the Harrogate Advertiser revealed plans by supermarket giant Tesco to take over the pub and create a mini-supermarket at the site, taking advantage of a planning loophole which means change of use permission would not be required.

Anne Richards, Bilton’s neighbourhood news correspondent for the Advertiser said she had concerns for the One Stop store in Bilton.

She said: “What is of real concern is the future of One Stop on Crab Lane, which is also a post office. One Stop is in the heart of the densely populated St John’s and Hill Top areas. A huge number of its customers walk to the shop. On the way they meet neighbours and have a chat and exchange news, it is more than a shop, it is a community hub.”

Crab Apple Close resident John Brandom echoed Mrs Richards’ concerns. He said: “Having shopped there for more than five years, I readily agree that it’s a true hub of the community. As operators of this One Stop store, Tesco must surely recognize the value of this business, not only in monetary terms, but as its worth felt by hundreds of Bilton residents.”

Bilton resident Jane Turnbull wrote to the Advertiser to condemn the planning loophole which allows the conversion of pubs to retail units without needing permission.

She said: “I was appalled to read about the Tesco conversion of this pub into another mini supermarket. This is a scandalous loop hole in planning permission. It is taking no account of the local facilities and loss of business to smaller shops who cannot compete with the prices. I use the local butcher and greengrocer regularly and am afraid that their profits will suffer.”

Woodfield Councillors, Coun Greta Knight and Coun Andrew Goss (Lib Dem) said they were horrified at Tesco’s plans.

In a letter they said: “There is the serious concern of public safety. The Skipton stands on what we are told is the most congested road outside of London, the only access to its car park is from this road.

“We have raised our concern with planners at both North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council only to be told that a loophole in planning law means that this change can take place without due consideration of both local opinion and public safety.”

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