A FORMER village pub will be turned into a craft and gift shop after the derelict building was bought by new owners.
Simon and Louise Oates are currently renovating the former Foresters Arms building in Main Street, Scropton, and hope to open before Christmas.
Their plans, however, have caused concern among some and led to allegations from one villager that the permanent loss of the only pub in Scropton means ‘the heart has been taken from the community’.
The couple behind the new shop, however, have hit back at the criticism and said their business could become ‘an asset to the village’.
Dickie Allen, of nearby Watery Lane, said: “This should not be allowed to happen.
“The heart has been taken from the community.
“Our nearest pub now is more than a mile and a quarter away in Hatton.
“A craft and gift shop simply won’t do instead of a pub.
“The pub meant a lot to people in the village.”
Mr Allen, an active member of the Campaign for Real Ale, said the law should be changed so anyone wanting to turn a pub into a retail site must first seek permission from the local authority. No such requirement currently exists.
The building had been empty since the pub shut down and attempts to find a new landlord had been unsuccessful.
The site was then bought at auction by Mr and Mrs Oates, who run online retail company Vintage Pink Gifts and Crafts.
The couple will turn the former pub into a walk-in shop and base for their five-year-old company.
Mr Oates told the Mail: “We hope that, given time, people will see this is a nice building that we have maintained well and I would like to think that it could become an asset to the village.
“I understand the local community might be reluctant to lose the pub but no-one was willing to buy it as a pub.
“The only alternative was for a developer to come in and turn it in to houses.
“Longer term, we would like to open some sort of tearoom at the site and perhaps become licensed. We want to be part of village life.”