Knockout for village pub

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A ONCE thriving village pub that has been at the heart of Bailiff Bridge since the 1700s is to become the headquarters of a pest control company.

Plans have been submitted to Calderdale Council to change the use of the former Punch Bowl Hotel at the busy junction of Bradford Road, Wakefield Road and Victoria Road.

The proposal is being made by Clearwell Pest Control Services which currently has offices in Bradford.

The chairman of Bailiff Bridge Community Association, Malcolm Silkstone, who has worked all his life in the licensed trade, said he was disappointed that the village would no longer have a local pub.

“It is very sad to see the Punch Bowl closing down. Having a pub in the heart of the community is a British tradition,” he said. “It seems more and more pubs are being boarded up and shut down.

“Licensees are being forced out because of the high rents being demanded by the pub companies. They just cannot make a living. It’s a great shame that this is being allowed to happen.”

However, there is hope for residents in the village as Bailiff Bridge community centre is opening its doors on a limited basis on a Friday between 3pm and 8pm.

“It’s a chance for people to come and socialise after work,” said Malcolm. “There is a lot of development in the area so it’s an ideal opportunity for new people to come down and get to know each other.”

The community centre will not be open over the next two Fridays due to functions being held but will be open to the public when no events are scheduled.

The pest control company which wants to develop the empty property currently provides different services to a range of different businesses including shops, pubs, restaurants and food production sites.

It also deals with domestic pest problems and are specialists in bird management.

If the change of use is approved there would be some minor changes to the exterior of the building including the removal of an existing fire escape staircase and new doors and windows being installed.

Calderdale Council will consider the plan before the end of the month.