Rumours of reprieve for historic Preston KFC

KFC, Fishergate
KFC, Fishergate
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Mystery surrounds the future of Preston’s historic KFC.

The fast-food outlet in Fishergate was the first outside the US and Canada, opening its doors in May 1965, but was set for closure after bosses decided not to renew the shop lease.

In December an A-board appeared above the three-story shop which was listed online with a rent of £75,000 per year and rates of £32,535. It was marketed for A3 restaurant use.

Community leaders expressed their sadness at the news and the potential for job losses, with Coun Drew Gale commenting: “We are losing a little piece of history”.

But recently customers have been told that the fast food outlet will remain open, and speaking to the Evening Post yesterday, a staff member said: “We’re not sure at the moment. We’ve been told that they’re 95 per cent sure that it’s staying open.”

This is in contrast to the information held by the company marketing the lease.

A spokesman for London-based Stephen Kane and Company said it was still “full steam ahead” marketing the property, and they expect KFC to have vacated the building in around a month and a half’s time.

KFC bosses failed to respond to Evening Post enquiries over the past two days.

When the restaurant was opened by Colonel Harland Sanders, founder and icon of the company, it was the first American fast food restaurant chain in the country, pre-dating the arrival of McDonald’s, Burger King and Pizza Hut by almost a decade.

It occupied half of the unit it does now, but it bought out the former Popinere cafe next door and expanded.