Businesses’ fears over Wetherspoon pub bid

The former White Hart pub, Todmorden. JD Wetherspoon has submitted an application to refurbish the historic building
The former White Hart pub, Todmorden. JD Wetherspoon has submitted an application to refurbish the historic building

BUSINESSES fear that JD Wetherspoon’s purchase of a former town centre pub could damage the local economy.

The pub chain has bought the White Hart, in White Hart Fold, Todmorden, with the intention of trading as a real ale, food and wine establishment.

A spokesperson for JD Wetherspoon said its proposal would provide a number of jobs and have a positive effect on local businesses and the community.

But Todmorden Business Association is concerned the establishment would take away trade from existing pubs, cafes and restaurants in the town centre

Lynne Midwinter, chairwoman of the business association, said: “We would always be concerned about large chains like Wetherspoon’s coming in and pushing prices down.

“There’s a lot of pubs making a really good effort in hard times for them at the moment. They are making a really positive contribution.

“Chains do not put anything back into the local economy but spending money at local shops and businesses supports the local economy.”

JD Wetherspoon has submitted a planning application to Calderdale Council for a refurbishment of the pub, which was built in 1935 and falls within the Todmorden Conservation Area.

The internal layout will be re-designed to include a new commercial kitchen with the capacity to deliver Wetherspoon’s extensive menu. The existing car park to the rear will be re-planned to accommodate a new customer garden.

A spokesperson said: “JD Wetherspoon plc have undertaken many refurbishments to listed and historically important buildings in recent times and understand the sympathetic nature in which works must be carried out to enhance and revitalise such properties in a way that enables the demands of a modern business to run.”

Its proposed opening hours are 7am until 1am from Monday to Saturday, and from 7am until midnight on Sundays and bank holidays.

The spokesperson said: “The proposal will help promote vitality back to the curved corner space of White Hart Fold and improve the local economy by providing a number of jobs to the local population, as well as retaining shoppers in the town centre by way of offering a pleasant and high quality place to eat and drink, thus having a positive effect on local businesses and the community.”