A PARISH council is bidding to be able to have a say in the future of a Haworth pub which is subject to controversial plans to transform it into a Tesco convenience store.

Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council has applied to have the Royal Oak, in Mill Hey, declared an "Asset of Community Value".

The parish council is now allowed to apply for this status for plots of land or particular buildings under a provision of the Government's 2011 Localism Act.

Council vice chairman, councillor Angel Kershaw, explained that if the application to Bradford Council is successful the parish council would have have the right to be consulted in the event of the pub being sold off.

She said if the pub is put up for sale councillors would then have six months to suggest alternative ways of retaining the premises as a community asset.

"The Royal Oak has been allowed to become run down," she said. "It's quite obvious that the people who own it have not invested in it.

"We would like the brewery to sell it to another brewery that is interested in it, or to invest money and bring it up to scratch.

"Its location by the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway means it could be a brilliant place. The pub dates back to before the 1850s and we know it was there at the time of the Brontes.

"We very much want it to continue as a centre for community gatherings.

"It's the only pub left on that side of the village. If it goes then people who aren't physically fit enough to get up the hill to the other side of Haworth will be left without a local pub."

Tesco's plans to turn the pub into a convenience store have encountered strong opposition from local people and councillors.

One of its applications, which would have involved locating a cash machine on the outside of the building, was rejected by Bradford planners earlier this month. (Oct) Worth Valley Ward Councillor Rebecca Poulsen said this cash machine would have been in a "ridiculous and dangerous" location.

Tesco has argued that a convenience store in the building would create 20 jobs, boost economic regeneration and bring extra trade to Mill Hey.

Commenting on the community asset application, Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council chairman, coun John Huxley added: "We have an interest in the future of this building.

"If it is declared an asset of community value that would mean it can't be sold off for a six month period without our parish council being involved in the process.

"Our application has gone into Bradford Council, and they will pass it onto Keighley Area Committee for a decision."

Nobody from Tesco, or the pub's owners Enterprise Inns, had responded to a request for comment by the time the Keighley News went to press.