AN HISTORIC pub dating back to the 18th century could be turned into housing if a proposed development is approved.

A planning application has been submitted to Leeds City Council for the partial demolition and conversion of the former Half Moon pub, in Pool-in-Wharfedale, into a house.

The pub was sold last July after being on the market since almost the start of 2020.

Now it is included in a planning application submitted on behalf of Half Moon Garage Ltd, which is next door to the pub.

The car repair business wants to redevelop its garage site and to convert the pub into a house.

The application is for the partial demolition and change of use of the former public house to a dwelling and four new dwellings at Half Moon Garage in Main Street.

Greg Mulholland, campaign director of the Campaign for Pubs, said: “It’s deeply disappointing to see a planning application that is seeking to permanently close and convert the 18th century Half Moon, Pool-in-Wharfedale’s only proper village local pub.”

He added: “This application would take away a historic village pub and would undermine the sense of community in Pool.”

He argued the pub was viable in the right hands, but said it had suffered for years because of the tied model of its formers owners.

He believes if it was freehold owned and free-of-tie, it could thrive.

“We hope the parish council and the community in Pool will strongly oppose this application and urge the owner to do the right thing and to allow the Half Moon to be the village pub again, as it has been since the 1740s and could and should be for years to come,” he said.

Mike Hampshire, vice-chairman, of Leeds CAMRA branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “We are upset to hear that the Half Moon in Pool-in-Wharfedale is at threat of permanent closure and we firmly oppose these plans to convert. Pubs like this have been, and continue to be, the centre of local community and there’s no reason why the Half Moon can’t thrive like that again.

“In a year where people and businesses have adapted to working from home, local community pubs like the Half Moon will be essential to helping people separate their work and personal lives, whilst helping the local, regional and national economy recover. It is critical that we preserve pubs in this difficult time and the Half Moon is no exception.”

Adel and Wharfedale councillor Barry Anderson said: “My initial reaction to this site is that it is a brownfield site, hence acceptable use of land. As long as the materials being used are in keeping with the conservation area, as per the recent planning appeal decision on the Taylor Wimpey site. Highways access could be a problem at that particular location, particularly with the conflict of the pedestrian crossing and the entrance to Mill Lane. I know they will argue there is a garage there, but personally I have never seen much car movement in and around that area.”

He said there was a demand for housing, but added: “The lack of greenspace provision or gardens are a concern and also the safety if any children were to be playing in the courtyard area and how easy it would be for them to get out on to Main Street.

“I also have concerns about the air quality for these houses. Main Street was a designated Air Quality zone and any built housing needs to be aware of this. As the site is in the conservation area this needs to be borne in mind as a major issue, again as outlined in the recent inspectors’ decision on the Taylor Wimpey site. It is also important that the application takes into consideration all environmental concerns, including both current and emerging climate change planning policies. My major concerns, however, are highways in terms of safety, car parking in the area, visibility when accessing and exiting the site.”

The application’s design and access statement says the scheme will add sympathetically to the village’s housing stock, and preserve and enhance and the character of the conservation area.