SAVE OUR SUMMERCROSS
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No Redevelopment! - The pub must re-open - The Developers - What can you do?
The Summercross, a popular and historic community pub located in the conservation area of Otley (West Yorkshire), is under threat of redevelopment.
31 August 2007: Agreement to sell the pub (over the landlord's head) to Chartford Homes.
27 October 2007: Pub closed after the very successful landlord was unexpectedly forced out (by the developers).
12 November 2007: Pub sold to Chartford Homes with vacant possession.
17 November 2007: Pub boarded up.
17 December 2007: Pub carpark fenced off (blocking a pedestrian route used for at least 120 years, click here for more details).
(1) Conservation Area application to demolish the Summercross
(2) Application to build 14 houses
24 January 2008: Trial pits dug by a JCB in the pub carpark and garden.
11 March 2008: Planning application (1) REFUSED - click here to read the full LCC planning decision.
15 April 2008: Planning application (2) REFUSED - click here to read the full LCC planning decision.
2 October 2008: The Wharfedale and Airedale Observer reveals plans for a 50 bed care home on the Summercross site.
30 October 2008: Planning permission applications submitted by Westward Care, click here for details.
(1) Conservation Area application to demolish part of the Summercross (ref 08/06123/CA)
(2) Application to build a 48 bed care home (ref 08/06122/FU)
6 November 2008: Planning application notices displayed locally: plans available for inspection at Otley Library + 27 November 2008 deadline for comments (this deadline was subsequently extended to 11 December 2008).
8 November 2008: Planning application became available for inspection at Otley Library.
18 November 2008: Six good reasons published why you should object the the Westward Care complex, click here to read.
18 December 2008: After the deadline for comments:
Westward Care submit REVISED PLANS, apparently after having seen the objections that had by then been submitted.
In response LCC once again extend the deadline for comment (to 13 January 2009), displayed some new planning notices locally (dated 23 December 2008), advised a small number of the previous objectors of the new consultation period and advised some of the previous objectors of the plans panel meeting on 22 January 2009 (when the application was to be considered).
22 January 2009: LCC Plans Panel (West) considered the application.
The panel agreed to defer consideration to the next meeting (because of very real concerns about the poor communications with the objectors).
19 February 2009: LCC Plans Panel (West) considered the application.
The panel approved the application to build a care home, this despite a final submission from SOS including major new errors found in the revised application.
For more information click here.
For some years the Summercross had been owned by Punch Taverns and the business suffered from a succession of short-term and generally disinterested landlords.
In December 2005 the Summercross was one of a block of 205 pubs that where sold to the Petchey Group after which the pub closed. However, this proved to be a turning point. The pub soon reopened with a committed new landlord who took out a lease (with an option to renew) with Save Investments (part of the Petchey Group), and the pub started to prosper again.
Unfortunately, on 4 September 2006 the Summercross was purchased for £495,000 by Phase 7 Properties. The latter are a low profile London-based company who appear to specialise in redeveloping pubs as housing. The landlord only ever deal with their agents, another low profile company called Country Estates Management, who started to make things increasingly difficult.
On 31 August 2007 a formal agreement was concluded that Phase 7 Properties would sell the Summercross to Chartford Homes. Unaware of this development, the landlord experiencing considerable procrastination from Country Estates Management about renewing his lease. Eventually the landlord was informed that the lease would not be renewed and given notice to quit.
The Summercross closed on 27 October 2007. On 12 November 2007 it was purchased with vacant possession by Chartford Homes for £1,000,000. This implies that Phase 7 Properties made a profit of £505,000 from owning owning the property for 14 months and removing the landlord. It also suggests that Chartford Homes believed that they would get planning permission for a high density development (in addition to buying near the peak of the market). Chartford Homes are a Leeds-based property development company and, in a letter dated 30 November 2007 responding to to the local MP, they confirmed their intention to redevelop the site for housing:
|30 November 2007 letter from Chartford Homes
Click here for the full text of the above letter together with our initial rebuttal of the claims that it makes.
Click here to read the subsequent response letter from Greg Mullholland MP to the the letter from Chartford Homes.
It is evident from this correspondence that Chartford Homes do not believe (or do not wish to believe) that the Summercross is economically viable as a pub. Click here for evidence to the contrary.
After loosing their subsequent planning application for housing, Chartford Homes have keeped a very low profile. While allowed the building to deteriorate and they have effectively refused to communicate with anyone (known to have included at least one local pub company interested in buying and reopening the Summercross).
Now Westward Care have entered the picture with a proposal to develop a care home:
10 October 2008 Westward Care exhibition (first sight of the proposal)YES IT IS BIG ...
... very big!
The sheer size of the building is self evident from the site plan to the left. First sight of the other exhibition drawings suggests that the designer has done a reasonably good job of disguising the shear bulk of the development - in this sense it is a relatively intelligent design. We have not yet had chance to study these drawings in detail or to assess the visual impact but clearly the development will dominate the skyline.
The exhibition drawings are published in the Westward Care glossy Consultation Document (this might be available from them on request). Unfortunately, Westward Care have not chosen to make this brochure available via a website.
30 October 2008 Westward Care submitted a planning application
Click here for information about the planning application and how to object.
Click here to read the letter dated 7 October sent to Westward Care by Greg Mullholland MP.
The pub must re-open
The Summercross must re-open because it:
Was a profitable and growing business and the landlord encouraged live music, morris dancing and other pursuits such as popular quiz nights.
Is significant in the history of the town.
Was the only pub serving the eastern side of Otley providing an essential social focus for the community and a meeting place for local groups.
Is believed to be the only pub in the UK called the Summercross, the name is believed to relate to an ancient fording point across the nearby river Wharfe.
Has an excellent setting and a wonderful beer garden (by far the best in Otley).
Forms an important visual break with the adjacent public park, both contain mature trees and create an open centre to the area.
Occupies a historical location at the end of the Otley to Tadcaster turnpike and alongside the ancient route between Otley and York.
Is popular with people attending local events (such as matches at the Otley Rugby Club).
Served good beer and has good kitchen facilities (awarded the Casque Mark - May 2007 - and Leeds CAMRA most improved pub).
Was a sponsor of and a venue for the Otley Folk Festival.
The Potential Developers
(1) Chartford Homes
Chartford Homes is the trading name of Chartford Developments Limited (Company No. 01592653). Their managing director is Chris Thompson and their registered office is:
2 The Calls
Chartford Developments Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bracken Limited (Company No. 02953413). They share the same registered office, have the same five directors (see below) and are both listed as privately owned "general construction & civil engineering" limited companies.
Bracken Limited was the redeveloper of Wharfe Street School in Otley when they gained considerable notoriety. First for cutting down a 150 year old tree that the local community wished to be preserved, this being done at 06.45am to avoid outraged residents (T&A 5 December 2002), and secondly for wishing to overdevelop the resulting site (T&A 27 February 2003).
Chartford Homes is less well known in Otley but has been involved in considerable controversy with local residents about developments in Guiseley (YEP 22 March 2005 and (W&AO 13 November 2006) and Horsforth (YEP 18 June 2005 and T&A 23 June 2005).
The directors of both Chartford Developments Limited and Bracken Limited are:
Norman Alan Stubbs (Chairman)
East Chevin Road
John Maurice Clark
30 Rupert Road
Neil Matthew Clark
31 Grove Road
Stephen Geoffrey Evans (Company Secretary)
58 Huddersfield Road
East Chevin Road
Christopher Thompson (Managing Director)
2 Fairford Mount
(2) Westward Care
Westward Care is the trading name of Westward Care Ltd (Company No. 2969357). Their managing director is Peter Hodkinson and their registered office is:
11 Hunslet Hall Road
The current directors of Westward Care are:
Norman Alan Stubbs (Company Secretary)
East Chevin Road
28 Maple Croft
Peter Gordon Hodkinson (Managing Director)
34 Millbeck Green
David Trevor Spencer
25 Fern Way
The company is listed as a privately owned "Other human health activities" limited company and they have three care homes:
Southlands nursing home (36 beds), 13 Wetherby Road, Roundhay, Leeds LS8 2JU
Pennington Court nursing home (62 beds), Hunslet Hall Road, Leeds LS11 6TT (Registered Office)
Headingley Hall (37 beds), 5 Shire Oak Road, Leeds LS6 2DD
Westward Care is very strongly linked to Bracken Limited and Charford Homes as described above.
www.westwardcare.co.uk is currently not displaying a web page (10 Oct 08)
Click here for the next page.