West Yorkshire campaign group urges pubco to reopen pub for Tour de France

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Otley pub club Tour de france Greg mulholland West yorkshire

The Black Horse Hotel was last open in late 2013
The Black Horse Hotel was last open in late 2013
A West Yorkshire campaign group has written to Enterprise Inns CEO Simon Townsend urging for the reopening of a pub in time for the Tour de France in July 2014.

The Otley Pub Club has called on the pub company to publicly commit to having the Black Horse Hotel up and running for the Yorkshire Grand Depart, during which participants will cycle past the pub.

The pub was last open in late 2013 but has been intermittently closed for the last couple of years.

The group, which is backed by local MP and All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group chairman Greg Mulholland, is suggesting that Enterprise should either reopen the pub with a temporary manager as soon as possible, so bookings can be taken for the pub’s 11 rooms, or sell the property to an operator who would ensure it is trading for the summer.

It has also sent the letter to Otely Town Council, local MPs, Welcome to Yorkshire tourism board and the organisers of the Otley Cycle Races.

'Sad indictment'

Andy Fitzgerald, chair of the Otley Pub Club, said: “It is a sad indictment of how Enterprise manages its properties that there is the very real risk of the Black Horse being empty on the day the world’s greatest cycle race passes by the front door.

“We would welcome the opening of the Black Horse in time for it to participate in this historic event and demonstrate just what a successful hotel it could be”.

'Unprecedented' celebration

Mulholland added that it would reflect badly on the town and on Enterprise Inns if the pub remains closed.

“The first week in July, with the Tour de France and the annual Otley Cycle Races, will be a unprecedented week long celebration of cycling in the town and we need to have the only hotel in the town centre open and trading.

“The chequered history of the Black Horse means that Enterprise is unlikely to get another tenant, nor will it work on that basis, so selling it to an appropriate hotel company remains the most likely way for the Black Horse to succeed.

“Either way, it cannot sit gathering dust much longer, so it really is time for Enterprise to make a sensible decision and ensure that Otley’s town centre hotel is open for Le Tour Yorkshire”.    

In November 2013, Fitzgerald called on Enterprise to sell the property, stating it would not work as a leased pub company pub but could be successful if operated by the right company.

Enterprise Inns declined to comment.

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