Landmark Ribble Valley restaurant pub could become homes

One of the Ribble Valley’s landmark restaurant pubs could be converted into luxury homes after a crippling slump in trade.

Sunday, 12th April 2020, 11:45 am
The Newdrop Inn could become five luxury homes.

Attempts over three years to sell the Newdrop Inn near Ribchester as a going concern for £1.25m proved unsuccessful.

So instead owners John and Sue Barr have decided to submit a planning application to develop the building as five dwellings.

“The planned closure of the Newdrop Inn represents the end of an era, brought about by unavoidable commercial pressures,” say documents submitted to Ribble Valley Council.

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“Despite success in the past, in recent years the business has been less successful and was advertised for market sale as a going concern between 2015 and 2018.

“No market interest was however shown for the site and, with profits falling, the applicant feels they have no choice but to seek an alternative use for the site.”

The Newdrop has been a highly respected and much-loved dining pub for years, with stunning views over the Ribble Valley.

Census returns show it was a pub at least as early as 1841, known at that time as the White Cross. It is thought it changed its name to the Newdrop Inn around 1948 when it was sold.

The Parr family have run the pub/restaurant since 1982. It stands in the Forest of Bowland’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

A heritage statement which forms part of the planning application says the proposed conversion will “sustain and enhance the landmark status of the building/site, and therein conserve some of the Newdrop’s historic interest in a manner that also greatly improves its architectural quality.”

Financial documents submitted by the owners from 2011 to 2018 show “significant falls in the turnover and profit of the business in recent years.

“The applicant has also had to introduce significant amounts of their own capital into the business in order to keep the business trading. This resource has now been exhausted and the applicant can no longer continue injecting money into the business for it to remain a going concern.”

The documents add that the reasons for the failure to sell the business between 2015 and 2018 included “managerial costs, the declining profits, the lack of cash within the business, staffing problems given its location and competition within the catering industry in the Ribble Valley.

“It is therefore concluded the Newdrop Inn cannot continue in its current form with the profits made in recent years insufficient to provide a reasonable income for the owners and to repay loans taken out to keep the business going.”