Samuel Smith brewery labelled 'outrageous' and 'contrary to community spirit' by local MP

By Emily Sutherland contact

- Last updated on GMT

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery has come under fire
Samuel Smith's Old Brewery has come under fire

Related tags: North yorkshire, Tadcaster

Tadcaster pub chain and brewery Samuel Smith has been blasted by Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams and faced criticism from the local community after it refused to allow a temporary footbridge to be built on its land following the devastating Boxing Day floods.

A temporary footbridge is necessary after the ancient Tadcaster Bridge over the River Wharfe collapsed in the floods, leaving the town divided.

In a statement, Adams said: “The decision by Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery not to grant permission for a temporary footbridge on their land is outrageous and completely contrary to the community spirit shown by town residents and businesses since the Boxing Day flooding.

“This morning I met with the government’s floods envoy Robert Goodwill MP. He is of the same opinion as me that the brewery owner should immediately reconsider his position and allow the construction of the footbridge, which is so badly needed by residents and traders to reconnect the town.

“It is, in my view, an extraordinary decision for one individual to unilaterally decide that this assistance is not a good use of taxpayer’s money. I’m sure that many people in the town will share that view.”

Robert Goodwill MP told BBC Radio York​ he hoped brewery owner Humphrey Smith would ‘think again and realise that this is for the benefit of the local community.’

Great Heck Brewing Company managing director Denzil Vallance said on Twitter: “Sam Smith's refuse to allow temporary bridge on their land. Disgraceful but not surprising.”

Others called for a boycott of Sam Smith’s pubs and beers, although Tadcaster local Riley Smithers tweeted: “Tadcaster local land owner totally wrong to block bridge, but not a fan of calls to boycott Sam Smith's pubs as it will only impact workers.”

A petition calling for Samuel Smith's to reverse the decision has also been started. 

However, in a statement the brewery argued that the blame should lie with North Yorkshire County Council and stressed that other crossings were available.

“North Yorkshire County Council failed to carry out proper duties of maintenance. Because of this irresponsible breach of its duties we understand that not less than £3m will now need spending to virtually rebuild the listed bridge.

“We understand this proposed temporary footbridge would cost some £500,000 of tax payer’s money. It seems to us a most wasteful proposed public expenditure, a typical short-term PR based sound-bite from central and local government. Who knows how the commerce in Tadcaster will recover once all the affected premises have been dried out and the insurance used in rehabilitation. It is a resilient little town and we all help each other as was demonstrated with 300 local volunteers giving up their holidays between Christmas and New Year.”

Sam Smith's added that the bridge needed widening to help wheelchair and pushchair uses and it was happy to give land that belongs to the brewery if the council chose to widen the bridge when it was rebuilt. 

Related topics: Legislation, Other operators

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