Tensions run high at public meeting to discuss fate of Haxey pub

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Tensions ran high at a public meeting to discuss plans to demolish a Haxey pub to make way for housing.

Around 230 people attended the public meeting including residents, councillors and Paul Chapman, owner of the Duke William and the applicant behind the plans to demolish the pub to build nine houses.

One of the major concerns raised at the meeting, organised by Haxey Parish Council, was the impact the closure of the pub would have on the Haxey Hood.

If the plan is carried through it would leave the number of pubs contesting the historic game, which dates from 1359, reduced to just two.

Speaking at the Memorial Hall meeting current Lord of The Hood Phil Coggon said “If that pub closes it will be a major set back for the Hood and it will probably finish it.”

Duke William owner Mr Chapman said: “15 pubs have closed down in the Isle in the last 30 years so what should we do just carry on running at a loss just to suit one day a year?”

Businessman and resident Stephen Jones was told to “sit down and shut up” after suggesting a marquee could be used for the Haxey Hood if the pub shut.

Planning consultant Mark Simmonds said the initial planning application to demolish the Duke William and build nine houses had been withdrawn and a new plan would be submitted following residents concerns.

He said the new application would retain the Duke William as a building and see it converted into an a single house, with a further house on the frontage replicating the historic feel of the surrounding area and another seven houses spread around rear and sides.

He added: “We have taken on board some of the comments made and issues raised. I know there are a lot of concerns and objections based around the Haxey Hood we respect and understand it’s an ancient tradition that takes place in the vicinity.

“As part of Mr Chapman’s application he submitted nine years of accounts, evidence of advertising, marketing and it conclusively shows that it’s failing, it’s not making a profit and that marketing has failed to secure a buyer. The one thing I’d say on the Haxey Hood is that however important the Haxey Hood is the Duke William can’t stay open to serve an event that takes place on one day each year.”

Leader of North Lincolnshire Council said at the meeting: “I personally, not as the leader of the council, think that pubs should be protected and I think the community should be listened too and if we can help in anyway we will do that, there is a legal process that needs to be followed and your views need to be heard as part of that process.”

The possibility of the community buying the pub at market value was discussed at the meeting - a proposal pub owner Mr Chapman said he would be happy to discuss.

See Epworth Bells for full details of the meeting