MP in plea for action to save struggling Otley landmark pub

Otley’s MP has renewed calls for a pub company to sell the struggling Black Horse Hotel.

The pub, on the corner of Westgate and Kirkgate, is to shut again from next Monday.

The managers, who took over running the Enterprise Inns-owned business six months ago after it had closed earlier in the year, introduced new features – including a traditional British restaurant and carvery – to try to bring in customers. But a continuing lack of footfall is understood to have made carrying on impossible.

Otley Pub Club is vowing to work with Enterprise Inns to help get the hotel up and running again, but MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) is pushing for a more radical solution. He said: “I am sad to hear that the Black Horse will be closing again with another tenant leaving, but not altogether surprised.

“The sad fact is that the hotel has been severely damaged as a business by the cycle of opening and closing and the revolving door of tenants and managers.

“I know people who have booked functions and events over the last few years, only to find that their booking can’t be honoured because the pub has shut again. This is damaging the business and hitting tourism.
“The Black Horse just will not work as a pubco leased pub and I repeat my call from 2009 for Enterprise Inns to sell it freehold to a company who will make a success of it as a proper coaching inn, out of leased, pubco hands. I would hope that after this latest disappointing closure they will finally see sense and sell it as a going concern to a company who will run it successfully on a different business model and ensure it works and stays open, so people have the confidence to use it.”

Otley Pub Club chairman Andy Fitzgerald said: “We are saddened to hear of the impending closure of the Black Horse Hotel. Having the Black Horse, a Victorian coaching inn, standing closed and empty will be a sorry sight on the day of Otley’s Victorian Fayre.”

The pub’s previous licensees had introduced a Chinese restaurant in September, 2012, in a bid to bring in more trade but left earlier this year.

Enterprise then approached Ilkley businessman Ian Collins, who runs Ilkley’s Dalesway Hotel and appointed the current tenants, to take on its management.

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