Parish Council to object to Travellers plans

The Parish Council is to object to plans by Irwin Ltd to change the Travellers Rest pub into offices.

The historic pub – the oldest in the village boundaries – has stood on the old drovers route up Wharfedale since the early seventeenth century. In recent years, recent tenants have failed, The most recent attempt saw the pub rebranded into 'Chapter One' a restaurant, but its restuarant prices in a pub location combined with the recession, indifferent reviews and absence of a website meant it failed to attract local repeat business or enough passing trade.

Its pub company owners offered the freehold of the Travellers Rest for sale and a number of potential purchasers were said to be interested, including at least one group wanting to build the pub back to its earlier success and, it is claimed, others who wanted to build on its restaurant potential, said to include a successful upmarket Asian restaurant chain.

Its sale to a building group who have submitted plans to turn the building into offices has disappointed many in the village, saddened at the loss of another country inn which many hoped would be revived.

The pub is said to appear on a map of 1640 and acquired its Travellers Rest name from being on a haulage road from Tadcaster up Wharfedale which later became the Otley and Tadcaster turnpike.Its earliest authenticated mention is its sale in 1771. It was a free house until 1934 when it was sold to Ramsdens Brewery and later acquired by Tetleys. The land opposite the inn used to contain the village bull pound.

The pub had an idyllic location on the outskirts of the village alongside the A659 midway between Collingham and Harewood. Its first floor Wharfe View restaurant enjoyed stunning views over the River Wharfe meadows. Its big problem is the same as its big advantage: a rural location so far from housing that it struggled to attract a 'local' drinking clientele, though plenty of pubs cope with this such as The Hunters Lodge between Pool and Weeton.

The pub was being offered for sale at an asking price of £450,000. It sits in a commanding position on Harewood Road with substantial car parking and beer gardens. The application before Leeds City Council is for change of use and for a replacement porch, windows and provision of a ramp.