Could Sowerby Bridge’s historic Puzzle Hall Inn get a new lease of life?

Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge.
Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge.

A historic and much-loved Calderdale pub could soon get a new lease of life as a community group begins a fight to safeguard its future.

The Puzzle Hall Inn, at Hollins Mill Lane, Sowerby Bridge, dates all the way back to the 17th century and until closing its doors last year, was renowned locally and nationally as a music venue.

Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge.

Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge.

The building, owned by retail and leisure property company NewRiver, is currently on the market for £175,000.

Now in a state of some disrepair, there are fears the historic inn could struggle to attract a buyer, but the ‘Friends of the Puzzle Hall Inn’ has come together in the hope of placing the pub’s ownership in the hands of the community.

The pub was successfully listed as an asset of community value last year and now the pub is for sale, the group could put a bid in for the site and would have six months to create a business plan.

During that time, the owner would not be able to dispose of the building.

Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge.

Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge.

Geoff Amos, a Puzzle regular for 55 years is helping to move things forward. He said people have been left “dismayed” by the pub’s demise, but the campaign had already gained attention from people wanting to help.

He said: “It’s a very special pub and it’s quite an icon in the area.

“If we can get in there, then we can really make a difference. People miss it, they didn’t think they would.

“It was always a talking pub and it was very welcoming. It’s a popular, traditional pub and we want to get back to that.”

He added that it was in a “horrible” state at the moment as it has been targeted by thieves and windows have been smashed.

But the group is determined to make a change and help the building stand proud in the town once more.

Fundraisers are planned for the coming months and it’s hoped other funding options may be available.

It’s not the first time a buyout of this kind has taken place in Calderdale.

The Fox and Goose in Hebden Bridge became the first community-owned pub in West Yorkshire in March 2014 and its success is now spurring on those working to revive the Puzzle Hall Inn.

A spokesperson for NewRiver said: “We’re delighted that The Puzzle Hall Inn, a well-known, landmark pub, has generated so much local interest, and we’re only too happy to talk to people keen to take it on, whether they’re individuals or members of a group such as this.

“Whoever takes on this popular venue can be assured of expert advice and support to help them develop a successful, sustainable business, via a partnership approach.”