Wensleydale villagers’ bid to buy local pub

The Old Horn. Photo: Gordon Hatton.

Residents of Spennithorne and Harmby are being urged to support an attempt to create a community-owned pub for the two villages.

Having encountered difficulties in finding a buyer for their pub – largely because of the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality industry – the owners of The Old Horn at Spennithorne have applied for planning consent to convert it into two residential units.

The application is expected to be considered by Richmondshire District Council in the coming weeks.

Concerned residents met last week to consider a response to the application.

Letters are being distributed to households in an attempt to gauge support for the idea of a community buy-out.

Similar schemes have led to the creation of a number of successful community pubs in the area, such as the Green Dragon at Exelby and the George and Dragon at Hudswell.

The Old Horn’s owners, Paul and Christine Hornsby, have indicated their support for the principle of community ownership, and are actively involved in discussions with the residents about how best such an outcome can be achieved.

As a first step, an application is being made to register the Old Horn as an asset of community value.

“Pubs are an essential focal point for communities such as Harmby and Spennithorne,” said the group’s spokesman, Richard Wortley.

“Together with the village school and the church, they are vital elements in community cohesion and identity.

“To lose the only pub in Spennithorne would be a hammer blow.”