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Friday, February 23, 2024

Police object to Dewsbury pub transformation amid anti-social behaviour fears

In a “tragedy” for Dewsbury, a local pub could remain shut for good and be turned into a new takeaway.

The plans relate to The Poacher on Bradford Road and are set out in an application submitted to Kirklees Council by Fast Food FM Ltd. Locals have expressed concern that if the use of the building changes, the town will lose another community asset, and say alternatives should be considered before the pub’s fate is sealed.

West Yorkshire Police has urged the council to turn down the application due to the number of food outlets in the area already and the impact this is having. They commented: “This street presents many challenges and high numbers of calls to service to policing, due to public order and anti-social behaviour.

“Should an additional food outlet be approved in this location, it would add to the current loitering and waiting at hot food outlets and highway issues that are faced by residents. This frequently creates public order incidents, to which the Police must respond. This drains the already stretched policing resources, creating an unsafe area for members of the public.”

However, the applicant states: “The proposed development of the property will bring an unused existing building into a suitable and sustainable use which is currently open to crime, dumping and anti-social behaviour, and could become an eyesore over time.

“It is positioned in a prominent location along the busy Bradford Road, on a corner plot, and an opportunity has arisen where investment can be made to bring the building to a suitable functional use and where it would not have a negative impact on the surrounding area.”

Under the plans, much of the building’s interior would remain the same but a new shop front would be installed on the outside. The shop would be accessible from the front as was the case previously, and nine parking spaces would be provided.

Two objections have also been received from residents, with one saying it would be a “tragedy” to lose another pub. Another said: “The Poacher, being a public house, holds historical and community significance in the area. The proposal to change its use raises concerns about the loss of a valued social hub. Moreover, the timing of this application is notable, as The Poacher has only recently closed its doors.

“It is essential to question how the business can be conclusively deemed unviable as a pub when it has not been given the opportunity to adapt or explore alternative strategies for sustainability.”

A target date for a decision to be made on the application has been set for 2 February.

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