ENTERTAINMENT

Freeserve Tycoon loses nine years of struggle to transform the local pub into vacation rentals


The multimillionaire Freeserve Tycoon loses the nine-year battle for the plan to turn the village's only pub into vacation apartments – as the locals get the chance to buy the boarded-up building through a mandatory purchase

  • Peter Wilkinson had boarded up the 300 year old Plow Inn in North York Moors
  • Tycoon was denied permission to make offices for his 19,000-acre estate
  • Wilkinson – worth £ 390 million – closed the pub in 2011 and said it cost him a fortune
  • He was on the verge of victory when a plan was made to rent the pub
  • Instead, the inventor of Freeserve was called a "tyrant" by the chiefs of the national park

A tech tycoon has lost its fight with the villagers over plans to convert a local pub into apartments as the residents have been given a chance to buy the building through a mandatory purchase.

Peter Wilkinson had the 300-year-old Plow Inn boarded up after being denied permission to convert it into offices for his 19,000-acre estate in the North York Moors.

The internet pioneer, worth £ 390 million, closed the pub in 2011, claiming it cost him a fortune to stay open.

He told the locals in Fadmoor – the backdrop for ITV's Jack Dee sitcom Bad Move – to go to the next village if they fancy a cake and a beer.

Then he left the building to rot instead of selling it to locals who couldn't meet the £ 500,000 price tag.

He seemed on the verge of victory this week when a plan to convert the pub into vacation rentals was recommended for approval.

Instead, the inventor of Freeserve was categorized as a "bully" by the National Park chiefs, who said his plans would be a death sentence for the entire community.

Peter Wilkinson (pictured) had the 300-year-old Plow Inn boarded up after being denied permission to convert it into offices for his 19,000-acre estate in the North York Moors.

Planning bureaucrats had argued that nothing could be done to save the pub since a rejection in the appeal process would be lifted.

Since the village's only store also had to be closed, the plan to reopen the building as a pub and general store proved a success for the park's government agency.

But Mr. Wilkinson has refused to sell and will leave the building to fall until he has found his own way.

His plan to convert it into vacation homes contradicts the council of the council that the existing tourist accommodations in the village are already empty.

The members agreed that the historic pub could only be saved by a mandatory order.

The internet pioneer, worth £ 390 million, closed the pub (pictured) in 2011, claiming it cost him a fortune to stay open

The internet pioneer, worth £ 390 million, closed the pub (pictured) in 2011, claiming it cost him a fortune to stay open

This would force the building to be sold to the local authority, the Ryedale Council, which could then reopen it as a community bar with the villagers.

Mr. Wilkinson has told planners that if they want to have a drink, local farming families can walk to the Royal Oak in the neighboring village of Gillamoor.

However, the planning meeting was informed that 95 percent of the village refused to dine in the posh pub that offers an à la carte menu for tourists.

Committee member Janet Frank said: “It is not the kind of local pub where you can go for a walk and have a beer and a pack of chips.

"You have to reserve a table. We run the risk of creating dead villages. Commuter villages like in the rest of the country are not what we want in the park. & # 39;

Since the pub closed in 2011, the historically important building had remained as a windowless blot next to the village square.

The national park leaders agreed that they should set a national example by opposing the destruction of the village.

Member Alison Fisher said: "We have a building of considerable historical interest here and it appears that we are being bullied by the owner."

Members voted unanimously to postpone the program until an attempt was made to purchase the Plow Inn through a mandatory purchase.

There will also be a new review of the feasibility of the community pub after hundreds of villagers have been saved by similar plans.

The residents have already founded a company and presented a business plan. They claim the pub could make a profit of £ 42,000 a year and could become the village's largest employer with 20 employees.

The neighbor Patrick James said: "It's my local pub where I had my first beer – we don't give up."

Activist Jerry McMahon warned the planners: “This is a case of a rich person trying to override the wishes of the community. Don't underestimate the resentment the community will feel if it succeeds. & # 39;

Mr. Wilkinson's agent, Patrick Barrett, said he tried to market the Plow Inn as a pub in 2011.

There were no realizable offers in 15 months and the community's offer was "significantly lower" than the market value of £ 495,000.

The Royal Oak and the Plow Inn were only half a mile apart, although the meeting was informed that they were separated by an unlit road that could be dangerous.

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