New interest in historic pub after council blocks demolition and housing plan

The owner of a 250-year-old pub linked to the Luddite rebellion may appeal a decision preventing him from knocking it down for housing.

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 6:00 pm
The Shears Inn on Halifax Road, Liversedge

Andrew Mitchell says the Shears Inn on the A649 Halifax Road at Liversedge is not viable as a pub. He wants to pull it down to make space for four new houses.

Last week Kirklees Council ruled against the idea. That pleased campaigners including Spen Valley Civic Society, who said the council had recognised the pub’s connection to historical events and their local and national significance.

A spokeswoman said: “Kirklees Council has clearly listened to residents, who submitted hundreds of comments objecting to the proposed demolition of the Shears Inn.”

But there is new interest in the building which, in 1812, was the site of a meeting of Luddite rebels.

Entrepreneur Mike Smith, famous in Yorkshire as the man behind Mike’s Carpets, says he is willing to take on the pub – at the right price.

Speaking after the ruling at the council’s Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee Mr Mitchell, who bought the Shears as a derelict shell in 2009, said: “I fully expected the decision to be made as it was.

“I’ve been advised to appeal that decision. If it’s unlikely to be overturned then I’ll have to look at options.

“They include offering the building to the Muslim community as a prayer facility. Also the Co-op have always been interested in the site, as has Spar.”

Mr Mitchell, who runs pubs and clubs across the North West and Yorkshire, says he has invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in the Shears Inn since he bought it.

“It was in dire straits when I bought it 12 years ago. Every window was smashed and the roof was missing. I spent £100,000 to bring it back to the basic shell.”

He now says it’s time to look at a different approach for the building, which dates from 1773.

Meanwhile Mr Smith, who runs 38 pubs in Yorkshire, is willing to step in.

He said: “I would buy it immediately, without a shadow of a doubt, but the price would have to be right.”