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MP to meet with Heineken as refurbishment plans concern patrons

Labour MP Alex Sobel has secured a meeting with Heineken UK after intervening on their plans for two Otley pubs.

The White Swan and Black Bull are set for refurbishment. Many constituents have been in touch with Mr Sobel to air their concerns.

In a letter to Heineken, Mr Sobel said, “I have received a great deal of correspondence from concerned local residents as well as the Otley Pub Club to tell me how worried they are about the character being lost from these listed buildings. Otley has a rich history of pubs and, as in many small towns, these establishments are important social hubs for the community.

Parts of The White Swan can be traced back over 250 years, with architecture in keeping with that of many of the other historic buildings in the town. The pub has been owned by only a few families since the early 1800s and is known to many as a fantastic place for a quiet pint by an open fire. It has also recently undergone a very tasteful and respectful makeover. I for one do not think it needs any more restoration.

The Black Bull is the oldest pub in Otley and is thought to date as far back as the 16th century. The pub has been home to many historic discoveries including a 18th century water pump, two 16th and 17th century fireplaces and an original door. The Black Bull is also famous for having allegedly been drunk dry by Oliver Cromwell’s Troops before the battle of Marston Moor.

Both buildings are grade II listed, and I think it is clear from the reaction to your proposals that the local community needs assurances that these two pieces of Otley’s proud History will be respected and protected.

I would therefore request that you pause all plans for refurbishment and meet with me, Otley Pub Club and other members of the community to listen to concerns and include all parties in the decision-making process. I am happy to facilitate this meeting and bring all parties concerned together.”

Heineken have agreed to meet with Mr Sobel as well as a scheduled meeting with Otley Pub Club. Mr Sobel has encouraged as many voices as possible to air their views “Otley’s pubs are a key part of the Otley’s identity. It is therefore vital that their character and history is respected. It is important that as many voices as possible are heard on this and that Heineken hear our concerns.”


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