Landmark pub’s future in question

APPEAL: The owner of the Old Oak pub has appealed against Kirklees Council's decision to prevent demolition of the building.
APPEAL: The owner of the Old Oak pub has appealed against Kirklees Council's decision to prevent demolition of the building.
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THE owner of a landmark Littletown pub is making a second bid to demolish it.

The Old Oak, at the bottom of Listing Lane, is one of the few surviving buildings from the old Littletown village which was razed to the ground to make way for the dual carriageway in the 1960s.

Owners D and M Middleton applied to Kirklees Council to demolish the pub and build a mini supermarket store with car parking at the site.

The plans were turned down – and now the owners are taking the council’s decision to appeal, with a planning inspector’s ruling expected later next month.

Chris Middleton says the pub, which has been boarded up for several months, is not viable – but added that should someone come forward with a business plan which would make it pay its way, he would listen.

He said: “We have had several tenants who can’t make it pay even on half price rent.

“It is not viable as a pub. You only need to look round Spen to see how many pubs are closing.

“But no decision has been made. If somebody comes along and says ‘we will give you that much for the building’ we will let it if it’s viable. We don’t want to spend money knocking it down if we can let it as it is.

“All we want is an income off the building. The better the project on the site is, the more jobs it creates for the area.

“You have to look at the cost involved in doing that building up. It’s 100 years old and it doesn’t meet any eco ratings you need to meet now.

“There is a culvert running round the side of it so it can’t be extended. Old buildings are very difficult to work with.

“It is a prime site and it’s got good road frontage. Something has got to be done with it.”

Barrie Seymour, owner of the Londis store in Knowler Hill, said: “I hope Kirklees Council sees sense – I don’t want to see it knocked down. It’s probably one of the last remaining landmarks from Littletown and I think something could be done with it.

“If the appeal goes through I will have to think about my options, there isn’t enough trade for another supermarket in the village.”

He said he also had concerns about traffic if a supermarket was built there.

Coun David Hall said residents, who were against plans for a supermarket, would be watching the decision very closely.