A controversial pub conversion application is back before planners when they meet next week.

In January proposals by Highstone Housing Association to convert the historic Yew Tree Inn at Northowram Green, Northowram, Calderdale, was deferred when a ward councillor revealed discrepancies in the paperwork that rendered the application invalid.

Coun Peter Caffrey (Con, Northowram and Shelf) is urging Calderdale Council Planning Committee members to reject the resubmitted proposals – which planning officers recommend should be approved – when they meet at Halifax Town Hall on Tuesday, March 19 (6pm).

The housing association wants to covert the pub, which has been there since the late 18th century, into two supported living apartments.

But the plans have been vigorously opposed by objectors who say the pub has importance as a meeting place in the community – for example it has been a base for the annual Northowram Scarecrow Festival – and that it was a viable business as a public house.

Around 1,200 people signed a petition against its closure and the council itself had registered the pub as an asset of community value (ACV).

Seventy three letters of objections have been received to the application and Coun Caffrey and fellow ward Coun Roger Taylor (Con, Northowram and Shelf) have both written to the committee urging refusal.

Coun Caffrey said: “Objectors have adequately highlighted that closing a thriving and viable public house for conversion to flats should be vigorously opposed.

“The comments further accurately point out that the Yew Tree has been an integral part of village life and provided a social hub to a large and diverse cross-section of the local residents.

“Once redeveloped, this public house is lost in perpetuity.”

Coun Taylor said the village had already lost The Stocks Arms and The Queen Victoria with The Yew Tree now under threat.

“Whilst I understand the economic price Enterprise Inns are going to take I feel the community factor is being ignored here.

” I therefore wish to object to this application which is removing a community asset of public value.”

Officers, in the briefing papers prepared for councillors, say that there was a clear dispute between objectors and applicants’ evidence about the pub’s viability with Enterprise Inns wanting to sell it.

But the ACV status was outweighed by strong evidence the premises did not have a viable future as a public house, they said.

Another council directorate, Adults’ and Children’s Services, supported the application because there was a very high demand for this type of specialist accommodation: “In Calderdale there is a limited range of housing opportunities for people with a learning disability.

“As a health and social care system we are developing a wider range of options that mean people can be supported to live in the community and develop greater independence.

“We want to continue to develop good quality accommodation within accessible locations in Calderdale to ensure that there is an adequate supply of suitable housing for people with a learning disability.”

Caption guidance – The Yew Tree at Northowram