Otley’s community pub-supporting organisation, Otley Pub Club, has written to the new CEO of Enterprise Inns, Simon Townsend, urging him to ensure that the Black Horse Hotel, which is on the route of the Tour de France, is open for the once-in-a-lifetime event.
The Black Horse, currently closed, has had a chequered history in recent years, closing and opening several times.
Otley Pub Club is calling on Enterprise to publicly commit to having the Black Horse open – and available for people to book – for the Tour and for the annual Otley Cycle Races, which take place just before the Grand Depart.
Otley Pub Club is suggesting that Enterprise should either commit to doing this by reopening the hotel with a temporary manager or that they sell the hotel to an operator who would ensure that it is open and trading in July. The public letter to Enterprise has been copied to Otley Town Council, Otley’s MP, Welcome to Yorkshire and the organisers of the annual Otley Cycle Races. Andy FitzGerald, chairman of Otley Pub Club, said: “It is a sad indictment of how Enterprise manages its properties that there is the very real risk of the Black Horse being empty on the day the world’s greatest cycle race passes by the front door.
“We would welcome the opening of the Black Horse in time for it to participate in this historic event and demonstrate just what a successful hotel it could be.”
Greg Mulholland MP, president of Otley Pub Club and Otley’s MP, said: “Millions of people around the world will be watching the Tour de France as it passes through Otley and it would reflect badly on the town and on Enterprise Inns if this historic hotel remained closed. “The first week in July, with the Tour de France and the annual Otley Cycle Races, will be an unprecedented week-long celebration of cycling in the town and we need to have the only hotel in the town centre open and trading.
“Enterprise Inns must either publicly commit to having the Black Horse Hotel open soon and to remain open in July or should sell it to a proper hotel operator who could run it and make it a success.
“The chequered history of the Black Horse means that Enterprise are unlikely to get another tenant, nor will it work on that basis, so selling it to an appropriate hotel company remains the most likely way for the Black Horse to succeed.
“Either way, it cannot sit gathering dust much longer, so it really is time for Enterprise to make a sensible decision and ensure that Otley’s town centre hotel is open for Le Tour Yorkshire.”