Country pub near Preston to be flattened to make way for petrol station and coffee drive-thru

A country pub, said to date back more than 300 years, is set to be bulldozed to make way for a petrol station and drive-thru coffee shop.

By Brian Ellis
Monday, 7th March 2022, 4:17 pm

Developers are ready to flatten the Saddle Inn, on the outskirts of Preston, to provide a service area for a new road network currently being built in the north west of the city.

A planning application by Euro Garages for the scheme has been recommended for approval by council officers despite a number of objections from people living nearby.

The once-popular Saddle, thought to have been built as far back as the late 1600s, has been described as "unviable" by owners Thwaites. It pulled its last pint in December 2020.

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The Saddle Inn in Sidgreaves Lane could date back more than 300 years.

The pub, which is one of Preston's non-designated heritage assets, is said to have struggled to survive over the last decade, with a string of landlords arriving and departing.

It also had three spells - in 2015, 2017 and 2019 - where it was temporarily shut. The brewery says there is no longer anyone interested in running it as a pub.

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The site, which also includes a large car park and children's play area, is to be cleared and turned into a 24-hour filling station, shop and drive-thru coffee stop to cater for traffic created on the East-West Link Road and its connection with the Preston Western Distributor.

Euro Garages say the site will create jobs for 10 full-time staff and 25 part-time.

Thousands of houses are going up on surrounding land and council chiefs believe the value of a new service area in that location would outweigh the loss of a community facility like the Saddle. The area has another pub just 300 yards away, the Sitting Goose.

"It is considered there is adequate eating and drinking provision within Lea and Cottam and the surrounding area," says a report by planning officers.

Residents nearby, who submitted six letters of objection, cited the impact on the area of losing a community facility and also claimed there were already adequate petrol stations and cafes in that part of the city.

Due to the building's status on Preston's local heritage list experts have called for a programme of building recording before demolition and then an archaeological survey carried out across the site before the new roadside service station is built.

The report adds: "In this case the public benefits would be bringing a vacant/redundant brownfield site back into an active use that is responsive to the new infrastructure (roads) that is being provided in this location.

"The use would be of social benefit to users of these roads as well as existing nearby and future residents.

"Other benefits include the economic benefits associated with the construction of the development and then the more permanent benefit arising from the creation of 35 new jobs across the site (equivalent of 23 full time jobs).

"In terms of environmental benefits, the application includes the provision of 4no. electric vehicle charging hubs which will encourage the use of electric vehicles, the new buildings will likely be designed to be more energy efficient than the existing pub and the provision of a petrol filling station will reduce the distance that residents will have to travel for such facilities, thus reducing carbon footprint."