‘Too many Star pubs in Otley’

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Otley row: pub campaigners have reissued concerns with a pub company’s plans for an historic pub (image: Dr Neil Clifton, Geograph)
Otley row: pub campaigners have reissued concerns with a pub company’s plans for an historic pub (image: Dr Neil Clifton, Geograph)

Related tags: Otley, Star pubs & bars

A pub giant owns too many sites in one Yorkshire town and should sell some pubs to local operators, according to an historic pub campaign group.

Greg Mullholland of the Otley Pub Club reiterated concerns about Star’s plans for a historic pub in the town and said the company, ultimately, has too many sites there. 

Although Star has insisted the White Swan will retain a traditional community feel, campaigners said they were not assured by its response to their objections.

The pub had been successful operating as a wet-led pub and was turning over £250,000 per year, with a steady base of local custom, according to Mullholland.

He said: “It's crazy when you are talking about a successful pub, we're all aware of pubs that are struggling, this is not one. 

“It is working well with a loyal clientele.”

Trading well

Mullholland continued: “The White Swan is a proper community local, a wet-led pub and has been successful in that. It is cosy, it's got a very nice fire and separate rooms.”

The group object to plans to open up the pub and to introduce a more substantial food offering.

Mullholland said: “[Star] is intent on putting through changes to the pub in what would be a futile attempt to boost the turnover even further, when actually that will simply drive away the current custom and spoil the current character of the pub.

“We feel Star is being unrealistic about the number of pubs it has in the town, it can’t turn them all into pub-restaurants.”

Feedback heard

A Star Pubs & Bars spokesperson said: “We always listen to local residents’ views when developing plans for a pub and met with the Otley Pub Club earlier in the year. 

“In line with its feedback, the White Swan will remain a traditional community pub. We will be responding to its letter in detail to clarify this.” 

Local pub campaigners feel the pubco should sell a few of its sites to Otley operators because it owns too many in the area.

Mullholland added: “[Six is] too many for one company to own in one town. It doesn’t really make sense, they are competing with each other but they’re also trying to push them in a direction of doing food so that they can increase the turnover and rent. 

“That isn’t going to work with so many pubs in one town. Star needs to divest itself of one or two of them to local operators, potentially to individual licenses or to small companies.”

Related topics: Star Pubs & Bars

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