THE uncertain future of a historic village pub is set to be finally secured after its new owner confirmed it will return to its place in the heart of the community.
The Fountain, in Ingbirchworth, has been purchased by developer Conroy Brook, whose bosses assured the community the venue will be restored to its former glory as a pub and restaurant.
Having been closed since 2017, it’s fallen into severe decline and has recently been the target of repeated arson attacks and antisocial behaviour.
A previous bid to have the building demolished was rejected by Barnsley Council, but Conroy Brook are confident that the new proposal - saving the pub and also providing ten new homes on the remainder of the site - will satisfy planners.
Chief executive Richard Conroy said: “This site attracted a great deal of interest in the Ingbirchworth community but we are confident we have now come up with a scheme that will greatly enhance the village, adding to the spirit of regeneration that this area deserves.
“Now that we have acquired The Fountain, we are pleased to be able to confirm that the pub will be completely refurbished.
“We also believe that our architects have come up with a development concept that is entirely sympathetic with the surrounding neighbourhood and should prove extremely popular.
“We are confident that Barnsley Council will see the new life and value we will be bringing to this part of the borough.”
Last year, a community group’s attempt to acquire the site for villagers’ use came to nothing, leaving residents and the local parish council with nowhere to meet.
The move was led by resident Will Haywood after Gunthwaite and Ingbirchworth Parish Council secured ‘community asset status’ for the pub with Barnsley Council, but the funding required could not be found before the developer struck a deal.
Conroy Brook already has a successful track record in Ingbirchworth and Hoylandswaine.
Director Jason Brook added: “We have a long history of providing quality hospitality venues around Barnsley and beyond - projects as varied as Brooklands Hotel in Dodworth and The Pavilion at Gateway Plaza in the town centre.
“We look forward to bringing a revitalised pub back to life with the support of the local community.”
Coun Hannah Kitching, who represents Penistone West, backed the residents’ fight for preserving the once-thriving pub as a community hub and is ‘over the moon’ at the plan.
“I thought the Fountain was dead and buried, I really did, but here we are,” she added.
“It will be in a terrible state by now but that can be dealt with, so part of it could be used as a community space in the future.
“This is the news the village has been waiting for, and it’s a good thing for the developer.
“I can’t quite believe it and can’t wait to see the plans.”
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