CAMPAIGNERS who have battled for five years to save a village pub are presenting a petition to the council backed by hundreds of supporters.

The 18th century Henry Jenkins Inn at Kirkby Malzeard, near Ripon, has been the subject of an ongoing battle between villagers and a developer, who wants to convert it to housing.

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The pub, one of two in the village main street, has been allowed to fall into a derelict state since it was bought by the present owner and repeated offers to buy it have been refused.

An online petition signed by nearly 500 people is being presented to a meeting of Harrogate Borough Council today.

It calls on the council to give the pub special protection by listing it as an Asset of Community Value.

The petition is being backed by David Kerfoot, former chair of the York & North Yorkshire Enterprise Partnership, and pubs campaigner and former MP, Greg Mulholland.

The Northern Echo:

The Henry Jenkins as it is today. Inside the bar, snugs, feature fireplaces, wood panelling, kitchen, toilets, internal walls etc have been stripped out

Mr Kerfoot said: “A large, growing village like Kirkby Malzeard can support two pubs and to have the Henry Jenkins revitalised would create a place where people can walk, cycle or meet up.

“We’re just coming out of the pandemic and people are still rebuilding.

"It’s tremendous how people have stuck together - now is the time to develop and facilitate businesses so the whole community can grow and makes things better.”

The Henry Jenkins, named after the celebrated Yorkshire super-centenarian that legend states lived to be 169-years-old.

The building was listed as an Asset of Community Value by Harrogate Borough Council in 2017 but the council has since decided to delist part of the pub that was sold off by the developer.

Now villagers - who have so far raised £237,000 in pledges to buy and refurbish the pub - are calling on the council to restore ACV listing for the whole pub.

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Richard Sadler, spokesman for the Henry Jenkins Community Pub group, said: “It’s vitally important that this pub is recognised for what it is; the Henry Jenkins has been an essential part of the fabric of this village for hundreds of years and the overwhelming majority of villagers want it back as a pub and community facility.

He said if the whole pub was put back as an ACV, the group would be well placed to qualify for up to £250,000 under the Government’s community ownership fund.

Greg Mulholland, campaign director of Campaign for Pubs, said: “Many pubs are facing huge problems due to being rented from pub companies or commercial landlords who have charged unreasonable levels of rent.

"By contrast community pubs have been able to adapt through a local community being directly involved and supportive and not subject to unreasonable rents or tied prices."

The ACV application is also being supported by Kirkby Malzeard Parish Council and Harrogate Borough Council ward councillor, Nigel Simms, who said: “It makes sense that the whole pub should be put back as an Asset of Community Value to help make it a going concern and make it more viable."

The Henry Jenkins, one of the oldest inns in the Harrogate district, is the last of several pubs in the area named after the celebrated Yorkshireman, reputed to have lived from 1500 to 1670.

He is buried at Bolton-on Swale church, near Catterick.

Five portraits of Henry Jenkins are held at the National Gallery in London and another is displayed in the living room at the Bronte Museum in Howarth.

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