A pub which has only been open two months could be shut and converted into a house to pave the way for a controversial development on an historic bowling green in Huddersfield.
The Newsome Tap opened its doors in July, with former Coronation Street star Bruce Jones, who played Les Battersby, a special guest. It is on the site of the former Newsome WMC, which went into liquidation.
Businessman Stewart Smith bought a two-year option on the land from the official receiver after the club went into liquidation, and has submitted plans to Kirklees Council for four townhouses and three bungalows on the 110-year-old bowling green at the back.
The Newsome Community, Sports and Bowling Club, which uses the green, was told it could continue until the end of this season, but after September the gates would be locked and there would be no more bowling on the site.
The move led to huge protests, and more than 200 people turned out to voice their anger at the proposals.
Click below to see pictures from the protests.
One possible stumbling block to the housing plan is lack of access for cars, and now Mr Smith has put forward plans to change the Newsome Tap pub into a house. The property is in a row of houses along St John’s Avenue, and the application says “is in an ideal location to become a new dwelling”.
Mr Smith was unavailable to comment, but a statement to the council from agents DB Architects, of Meltham, says: “A licence has been granted to the bowling club to use the green and pavilion for this final season and the new owner is subsidizing this facility.
“A new use for the land and buildings has to be found and the new owners Newsome WMC Ltd propose to develop the land for housing.
“However this proposal has caused a considerable amount of controversy in the community and the application has to address other planning issues to be assessed fully. One matter to be addressed is the access from St John’s Avenue which currently is not suitable for vehicular access serving a housing development.
“The client has now decided that a proposal to shut the public house and convert it to a single large dwelling house would be a solution to the highways issues and also possibly help the current housing application when the other outstanding issues are resolved.”
But Ian Wrigley, the bowling club’s bowling league representative, said the club’s legal advice was to stay put, as there is a covenant on the bowling green land which means it should only be used for bowling.
“We have a claim on the bowling green ourselves and are hoping we will be able to acquire it legally.
“We’ve been told to vacate the grounds and told we would be locked out. But we plan to remain in situ and make a stand.
“The plan with the pub doesn’t cause us concern. It’s a community bowling asset for local people and we intend to stay.”