Campaigners bid to get closure threatened Northampton pub protected status

Regulars of the Barn Owl in Rectory Farm are refusing to give up in battling Hawthorn Leisure's plans to to turn the pub into a shop.
Regulars of the Barn Owl in Rectory Farm are refusing to give up in battling Hawthorn Leisure's plans to to turn the pub into a shop.
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A last-ditch bid to prevent a Northampton pub from being turned into a mini-supermarket has been launched by campaigners who want to see it given protected status.

Earlier this month plans lodged by Hawthorn Leisure’s to convert the Barn Owl in Olden Road, Rectory Farm, into a shop, faced a resounding backlash.

More than 550 residents wrote a letter of objection to Northampton Borough Council’s planning department as a result, with many saying Rectory Farm was already well served by a Londis 100 metres away.

Many others feared the loss of one of the last pubs standing for miles around.

Now the Rectory Farm Residents’ Association is launching a second attempt to see the two-storey venue recognised as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) - which would prevent it from being changed into a shop under the Localism Act 2011.

The association have already tried this tactic before and a previous bid lodged in December was turned down by Northampton Borough Council.

But the chairman of the association, Keith Holland-Delamere, believes a revised submission will stand more chance of succeeding.

“We have revisited this with a lot more evidence,” he said.

“Our new application highlights the way this pub plays an important role in the social wellbeing of the area, especially among the older members of the community.”

Hawthorn Leisure’s planning application was due to go before the borough council’s planning committee last week but was withdrawn at the last minute because of the residents’ association lodged the application to see the pub listed as an ACV.

About 860 pubs across the country have been registered as ACVs, since the law was introduced.

Mr Holland-Delamere said: “At the end of the day I’m a regular at that pub.

“The current landlord has done a fantastic job of turning the pub around. It’s a shame the company is acting like this. They are not acting in the best interests of the community.”

The residents’ association is expecting a decision on whether its planning application to protect the Barn owl is successful within the next fortnight.