THE SITE of a long-closed Otley pub has been put up for sale - more than a decade after permission was granted to turn it into a care home.

Westward Care secured planning permission to convert the Summercross, which stands on East Busk Lane facing Pool Road, into a care home back in 2009. But little has happened since apart from some work to make the property and plot secure.

Councillors, Otley Pub Club and Otley Conservation Task Force all urged Westward Care to ‘act or sell up’ while the company insisted its care home plans remained on course. Now it has confirmed that the site has been put up for sale with an asking price of £850,000.

Otley Pub Club President Greg Mulholland said: “It is a disgrace the way the historic Summercross pub has been left to deteriorate - the only pub east of Otley and the only pub in the whole country with that name.

“Westward Care have land-banked this pub for over ten years and allowed the building to become derelict despite their supposed commitment to retain it and the string of promises to start work.

"Leeds City Council were wrong to give planning permission and now must stand firm and oppose any plans to demolish this important building.

“The asking price is ridiculous and the owners should be made to restore the building and sell it at a realistic price as a pub.”

Westward Care’s MD, Peter Hodkinson, said: “We are disappointed we have to put the site up for sale.

"We have investigated and pursued a number of options to move forward on developing the proposed care home but it has come to the point that we have to accept this is no longer viable.

“There are a number of factors that have led to this decision.

"At the time we received planning permission England had hit the height of the 2008/2009 recession - the repercussions of which were felt for many years.

“Since then the scale of care home provision has also changed dramatically with larger facilities being developed. We have explored several funding opportunities for the site which have not come to fruition.

“The marketplace we now find ourselves in is a very different one to when we purchased the land and property and we feel it’s the right time to sell."

Otley Pub Club’s Pub History Officer and Otley Conservation Task Force member Phil Greaves said: “A Leeds City Council planning officer made clear that the existing public house makes a significant positive contribution to the character and appearance of Otley Conservation Area and should not be demolished.

“The Summercross forms a key gateway at the eastern end of the Conservation Area and should be reinstated to its intended role as a public house.”