PROPOSALS which will see a long-closed pub brought back into use and a small housing development built on the remainder of its site have been approved by Barnsley Council - much to residents’ delight.

Award-winning property developer Conroy Brook, in association with Brook Leisure Group, will restore the currently derelict Fountain Inn, Ingbirchworth, to its place at the heart of the village as part of the scheme.

Nine homes will be built on the Wellthorne Lane site, with work on site scheduled to start this summer, bringing a long-disputed issue on the land’s future to a close.

“We are delighted that Barnsley Council recognised the value of a scheme that will greatly enhance the village, adding to the spirit of regeneration that this area deserves,” said Conroy Brook chief executive, Richard Conroy.

“Central to the whole project is the future of the Fountain Inn, which will now be completely refurbished by Barnsley-based Brook Leisure Group.

“We anticipate that we will be on site by the summer with a scheme that will be entirely sympathetic with the surrounding neighbourhood and should prove extremely popular.

“We look forward to bringing a revitalised pub back to life with the support of the local community.”

Original plans were to demolish the once-thriving pub, leaving the area’s community groups and parish councillors with no community facility at all.

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Following an outcry, Barnsley Council rejected the original scheme on grounds it did not meet community asset criteria and Conroy Brook went back to the drawing board, before the plans were approved last Friday.

The developers verbally indicated that a function room, when not required for its commercial duties, will be made available to local groups for meetings.

A statement from Gunthwaite and Ingbirchworth Parish Council added: “With the backing of a substantial number of residents, we support and welcome the proposed development.

“We believe it will bring considerable benefit to the village and utilise a vacant and untidy site to good effect.”

Coun Hannah Kitching, who has supported the community throughout, said: “The planning department were not satisfied with the original plans as they did not meet criteria on community asset provision.

“The site is an eyesore and most people have reached the point where they would like to see something happen there.

“The Fountain is seen as the last community asset in the village - with former shops closed, Gunthwaite and Ingbirchworth Parish Council can’t even meet in its own area as there is nowhere suitable.

“It would have been irresponsible for the developer to build homes without a community aspect.

“So this is good news - everyone has fond memories of the Fountain Inn and that is why the community fought so hard to keep the pub.”