A pub giant is eyeing a former bank which has stood empty for years in Preston city centre, it is understood.
The Evening Post understands JD Wetherspoon is looking at the former TSB building, opposite the city’s minster, on Church Street.
The pub company has denied any interest in the building while owners, Lancashire County Council, were remaining tight-lipped about the future of the building.
But, it is understood talks have taken place between the authority and the pub company about opening its second branch in the city centre.
No contracts have yet been exchanged to take on the building but talks are believed to be progressing.
Dave Linley, chairman of the West Lancashire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said he had heard rumours of Wetherspoons interest.
He said: “That building was given planning permission to trade as a pub about ten years ago although the permission was never used, but the principle was set that it could be.
“Wetherspoon often has more then one branch in towns smaller than Preston, so it is quite feasible they would look at it.
“They operate a couple of different brands, Wetherspoon and Lloyds Number one, which is more targeted at a younger clientele, so it is not impossible they could look to open a different brand on Church Street.”
A Lancashire County Council spokesman declined to comment on its plans for the building.
A spokesman for JD Wetherspoon insisted Preston was “not on the radar” for new branch openings.
In 2008, developers Ask-Bluemantle submitted plans to develop flats in the area.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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