A community has rallied
together to save the last
remaining ‘focal point’ of
village life – their local pub.
Regulars at the Shoulder of Mutton in Briestfield had been drinking their pints by candlelight before the pub was forced to close last month.
And now they have held an emergency meeting to try to find a way to re-open the last remaining village landmark, which they were concerned may be earmarked for development.
However, Andrew Booth, who owns the building, and was not invited to the meeting, told the Reporter he wanted to keep the building as a pub .
The Shoulder, in Briestfield Road, is the last commercial building in the area.
Former landlord Graham Pickles said: “People want to find out what is going to happen to the pub.
“We’ve lost the village hall and the methodist chapel and Sunday school are now houses – people are concerned that if this goes, they will lose the focal point of the village.”
Mr Pickles, 53, had been running the pub with his wife Jane for 15 months before they were forced to cease trading.
The determined couple kept the business going as long as they could under difficult circumstances – a generator was used to power the pub for 20 weeks and punters drank their pints by candlelight.
Mr Pickles invited Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell to last Friday’s meeting after he dropped into the pub for a drink. Mr Reevell said: “They are very anxious to keep their pub – they think that it has the potential to succeed.
“It is important that if the community wants it to be their pub, they should be given every chance of having it. If it can be run as a pub then my view is that it should be.”
Villagers say the building could become a community centre if it is not re-opened as a pub. They are planning to gather outside the building in the near future to send the message that it should remain a place for the community.
Mr Reevell added: “I hope the owner will see the strength of feeling and think that the sensible thing to do is sell it as a pub.”
Mr Booth said: “I have no intention of developing the land. It is my intention to put another tenant in and run it as a pub.”