A PUB with historic links to the Luddite movement could be demolished to make way for four homes.

The owner of the Shears Inn on Halifax Road, Liversedge, has submitted a planning application to knock it down and build the development of four-bedroom properties.

Andrew Mitchell said he had been forced into the measure because the pub has lost hundreds of thousands of pounds in recent years.

But local heritage guardians have expressed their fears for the building which was the site of a meeting of Luddites in 1812 before they marched on a local mill to attack it.

Erica Amende, of Spen Valley Civic Society, said: "We're all absolutely horrified, upset and worried.


"We have tried to get it listed but it doesn't have the feel it had. A previous landlord stripped it out.

"It will be a big loss."

She said Historic England had refused to list the pub because there was nothing important about the building to get it listed although historical events happened there.

The society installed a plaque on the wall of the building to commemorate its significance and local schoolchildren have been taken there as part of lessons about the Luddites with a teacher explaining about the Luddite Oath in the bar.

She said the possible loss of the pub would be particularly upsetting this year because the theme of 2019's Heritage Open Days is going to be people power and the Luddites were a classic example of this.

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She questioned whether the owner of the Shears had tried to sell it as a going concern and was surprised that it was not more successful in an area that is reasonably well off.

"I would have thought there would be scope for a decent dining type of pub," she added.

She said that several large properties had been demolished in the area recently and replaced with homes.

Mr Mitchell said there were not enough people drinking in the pub these days and he had spent lots of money trying to keep it going.

He said: "I bought it ten years ago when it was a ruin and vandalised.

"I'm from the area and it's close to my heart. I spent tonnes of money but from there it's gone downhill.

"There are not enough people drinking and too many pubs and clubs on that road."

He said he had had an approach from the Co-Op two years ago and declined it but it had now got to the point that The Shears was running at a loss and his other pubs were subsidising it.

"It's a tricky situation. I've spent hundreds of thousands on it.

"I tried to diversify 18 months ago with real ale and craft beer but it fell on its backside.

"For only so long can I go on losing money.

"I know everyone who runs a pub in the area and they are all struggling."

He said he had looked at keeping the building as part of the development but builders had told him that the car park was not big enough to get anything substantial built and it was better is the pub was levelled.

Mr Mitchell said he was well aware of the building's history and was hoping that the development could be named after the Luddites.

He also said the civic society's plaque would be incorporated into the design of a well which will be restored at the front of the site.

"I've done my best over ten years," he added.