'Eyesore' Summercross pub in Otley will get Tour de France makeover

The Summercross pub in Otley is boarded up and awaiting redevelopment as a care home.

The Summercross pub in Otley is boarded up and awaiting redevelopment as a care home.

First published in Local news Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A mural is to be painted outside a long-empty Otley pub to present a colourful welcome for the Tour de France.

Tony Grey, landlord of The Junction, is spearheading the move for the former Summercross Inn in Pool Road.

The building has been empty and boarded up since 2009, while awaiting redevelopment into a care home, and has been branded an eyesore.

Mr Grey, keen to see the place looking better before the world’s spotlight arrives with the Tour de France on July 5, approached owners Westward Care and Leeds City Council to propose a temporary solution.

He has now been told he can proceed with a plan which would, so long as residents raise no objections, see Prince Henry’s Grammar School students give the Summercross and its surroundings an eye-catching artistic makeover.

Mr Grey said: “It’s just a temporary solution that would let us present a better sight to the world.

“The idea is to get some boarding up around the perimeter fence and paint a mural on it with some representations of Otley, Yorkshire and the Tour on it and a yellow background.

“And we’ll paint the gable end of the Summercross with ‘Welcome to Otley’, just to make it look a little more pleasant for all the visitors coming to the town on the day.

“I’ve spoken to Westward Care who have no objection and have helped by starting to tidy the site and painting the windows and the gable end. Leeds City Council are happy too, so long as we ensure the perimeter boardings are safe and secure.

“And students from Prince Henry’s will do the painting for us, I’m talking to their art teacher and Otley artist Shane Green about the details.”

Westward Care has been criticised for allowing the building to deteriorate instead of redeveloping it.

In March, Otley Pub Club led a call for the company to either speed things up and start work, sell it or tidy it up before Le Tour.

Mr Grey said: “I get fed up with people complaining all the time without coming up with any solutions so I thought why not just see if we can get people to brighten the place up before the Tour?

“It will cost money and I’m hoping local businesses and people will support it. I’m chipping in £100 myself to show I’m putting my hand in my pocket, too.

“I’m now just writing to local residents to make sure they’re up for it before we push on.”

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