Fight is on to save Glasson pub

Plans for the transformation of a village pub have been left in limbo after residents fought to keep the business open.

Thursday, 6th April 2017, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 8:20 pm
The Victoria Inn in Glasson Dock, which locals hope to retain as a pub despite redevelopment plans. PIC BY ROB LOCK 3-4-2017

Lancaster businessmen Andrew Barker and Graham Cass bought the Victoria Inn at Glasson Dock two years ago with the intention of renovating it. They have since refurbished both the Bowerham Hotel in Lancaster and the Station Inn at Caton.

However, research into the Victoria Inn led the pair to have concerns over the viability of running it as a pub - and instead they looked at turning it into housing.

Villagers now say they want the pub to re-open.

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One resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “We think it’s rather unique. We have lost so much history at Glasson. It’s a very attractive building in a prominent location and it would be really sad if it becomes flats.”

Close to the Victoria Inn is The Dalton Arms pub, which is open.

Mr Cass and Mr Barker have held public meetings with the villagers in a bid to share their concerns.

Mr Cass said: “We looked at the pub and didn’t think we could make it work. It needs a massive refurbishment of probably about £400,000.

“It’s a listed building and it’s a very seasonal pub.”

The pub would be competing with the nearby Mill, Stork, Dalton Arms and Thurnham Hall, he said.

“We had to ask ourselves if we could do something that others were struggling to do,” Mr Cass added. “It had been losing £5,000 a week.”

“We started to look at what else we could do with it. It had been on the market as a pub for two years before we took it over, with no offers. We decided the best thing would be to turn it into housing. We met with the locals to tell them we had explored all our options.

“A lot of them were unhappy but we asked them if they drank in the pub and a lot of them said no.”

Mr Cass said the villagers have now been offered the chance to buy or rent the pub if they wish to, but otherwise it is likely that a planning application will be submitted to the city council for housing.

The scheme could include three cottages, four apartments and a house.

“The building hasn’t been used for a while and it needs something doing with it,” Mr cass said. “If anyone wants to come forward we are happy to discuss it with them. We are open to suggestions.

“We don’t want it to go to ruin but at the moment it’s in limbo because we don’t want to upset anyone.”