A community has clubbed together to give an eyesore pub a facelift.
Residents in Ingol, Preston came out in force to help turn the run down pub into a nursery.
After five months of intensive work, Building Blocks nursery opened on the site of the former John O’Gaunt pub in Cottam Avenue.
Owners Mark and Wendy Keleghan raced against the clock as the nursery – which was originally housed in Ingol Community Primary School – had to find new premises by the beginning of this month to meet high demand and found an ideal solution – the pub next door.
The couple submitted plans to change the use of the building and despite initial criticism – a petition to save the pub with 132 signatures was sent to the planning committee – Mark believes the residents are now 100 per cent behind the nursery. He said: “At first people opposed it, it was a local pub and part of the community. But it had become run down and we wanted to revamp it and since it has opened we’ve had a fantastic response from the community.
“We raced against time as the conversion had to be completed in less than five months.
“My wife managed the nursery in the primary school. The school had been very supportive of the pre-school.
“But because of a well-deserved growth of numbers of children within the school they had no choice but to ask if we could find alternative accommodation by June. We found the ideal location in the John O’Gaunt pub, they’d been trying to sell it for two years with no success.
“We bought it and then it was a mad rush to get the pub ready in time.
“My wife Wendy put out an SOS to the dads from the nursery, asking all the tradesmen for their help. A team of helpers with all different trades where only too keen to help out, we only employed local builders and a lot of them were dads with children at the Ingol Primary nursery. And mums were on hand to paint and show they could also use a shovel and match the men.”
The nursery has places for 49 children and is open Monday to Saturday from 7.30am until 6pm.