VILLAGERS have failed to block their local pub from re-opening.

Residents of Holme Valley village Hinchliffe Mill protested when plans to revive the Shepherd’s Rest were unveiled.

The Woodhead Road pub has been closed for more than nine months.

Its licence was cancelled in November last year following a number of complaints of anti-social behaviour.

But yesterday councillors on Kirklees Council’s Licensing Panel gave brewer Daniel Thwaites plc the green light to resume trading.

The decision will allow the company to sell the premises to Leeds-based Mood Developments, who already operate the Flying Ferret in Shelley.

The Panel agreed to the pub re-opening after Mood Developments voluntarily reduced the hours it could serve alcohol by one hour.

Drinkers will now only be served until 11pm Sunday to Thursday and 11.30pm on Friday and Saturday.

Other conditions on the pub’s licence are no karaoke and music must stop at 11pm.

Boozers are also banned from taking their drinks outside.

Speaking at the Huddersfield Town Hall meeting, Peter Mason, of Mood Developments, said: “It would be harsh to judge us on what has happened in the past – just like you can’t judge a son by his father’s behaviour.

“You should remember that the Shepherd’s Rest has been a public house for hundreds of years.

“There was a very popular landlord there for 20 years who was a village figure.

“We want our landlord to act as a centre of the village community.

“Just because there was a noise problem a couple of years ago doesn’t mean we can’t have a pub there ever again.”

Mr Mason said if villagers were suspicious of his intentions they should visit the Flying Ferret where a no swearing policy was in force.

Mr Mason also referred to The Examiner website where he said many comments had backed the revamp and said he wanted to create a “climate of community cohesion” and not “community division”.

He added: “Many people think it’s an eyesore and are grateful for someone coming along and restoring it.”

But neighbours of the village boozer said their lives had been disrupted by violence and noise and they were fearful the problems would resurface.

They were backed by local councillors Donald Firth and Nigel Patrick, who received special dispensation to speak at the meeting after failing to put in representations before the deadline.

Both said they were unaware of the proposal and slammed the Licensing department for not telling them.

Holme Valley South Tory, Clr Patrick, said they had been “inundated with complaints” about the previous landlord. He said: “These days licensing is very different, the world is very different and the way people behave is sadly very different.

“The giving of a licence is very easy, the taking away is very difficult.

“We’ve had problems with pubs in the past in our ward.

“It’s very difficult to get (their licence) taken away and in the meantime local residents suffer.”

But Mr Mason said he would simply bar any troublemakers.