‘Last chance saloon’ for Skeeby pub as £150,000 public appeal planned

The Traveller's Rest in Skeeby.

Residents have been told their efforts to reopen their village pub are in the ‘last chance saloon’ as plans for a public appeal to raise funds to buy the inn are revealed.

District councillor William Heslop gave an update on the Travellers Rest to members of Skeeby Parish Council last week.

He told parish councillors that he had been in talks with senior officers at Richmondshire District Council, as well as the leader of the authority.

Cllr Heslop said that a public appeal would be launched soon, with residents asked to pledge cash with the hope of raising about £150,000 from the community to create a community-owned pub.

The Travellers Rest has been shut since 2008.

Owner Jon Whitfield, from Euro Property Management, applied for permission to the convert the building into a house.

The application was rejected by the district council’s planning committee.

Mr Whitfield appealed the decision, but this was also rejected by a planning inspector in 2017.

Cllr Heslop told the meeting: “We will be looking for pledges of that amount over a finite period.

“If they [the pledges] come forward I am promised that Richmondshire District Council will kick into action and undertake a compulsory purchase order of the Travellers Rest for the purpose of having a community pub.

“We have got a concrete pathway to go down. What we really need is support from the village and people around. If we don’t get the pledges there will be no compunction about letting the owner do what he wants and turn it into a house.

“This is the last chance saloon for the Travellers Rest. It’s down to the residents.”

He said there would be a public meeting in the next few weeks along with publicity about the pub appeal.

He also said he was working with the pub group in Skeeby that was set up some years ago.

Cllr Heslop said: “I’m determined that the building will not be empty for another ten years. It’s either going to be a house or a community pub. This has been going on for too long.

“There needs to be real demand from the community for the building to be a pub. If we are going down the route of a compulsory purchase order, we need to prove there is the demand from the community.

“It’s time to put up or shut up. I think it will go as a community pub – we have worked out the figures and it’s not that big a hurdle.”

The meeting was told that if a compulsory purchase order was made, the price would be decided through a legal process.

But Cllr Heslop said the premises would be valued as a pub, not for its potential as a new residential development.

Cllr Heslop said: “We think that will be somewhere between £100,000 and £200,000.”

He told councillors that the idea was to run the pub in a similar way to the George and Dragon, in Hudswell.

He added: “This pub is the hub idea is the flavour of the month with the government and there is funding available too. I see it as a big opportunity. The pub is a blank canvas, notwithstanding there is no heating and electric, but it’s ready to roll.”

Mr Whitfield told Richmondshire Today the building had been valued by two independent experts who said it was worth £200,000.

He added: “If they come up with £200,000 they can have the keys tomorrow, but there’s a difference between people making pledges and putting forward the cash.”


1 Comment

  1. It would’ve good to have a public house in Skeeby, it would bring in outside customers as well as local customers.
    I know we have the village hall that can be booked for community get togethers but sometimes it is not available so the pub could be used for get togethers and meals if it is a gastro pub.
    It would bring interest to the village rather than just being a housing suburb for Richmond.
    The village has a great community feel to it but it needs to spread out to other villagers that live on the outer fringes and perhaps a pub would introduce people to each other as well as outsiders.

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