A notorious Preston pub could finally get a new lease of life, almost 20 years after it was shut down.
Owners of the derelict Old England in Ribbleton Lane have been granted planning permission - for the fourth time - to convert the eyesore building into an education centre.
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Amended plans, which will see the boarded-up alehouse refurbished and extended, have been passed by the city council.
Work is expected to get underway soon, bringing a welcome end to two decades of misery for locals living nearby.
The former Boddingtons house, which was built in 1853, has been a target for vandals and arsonists since it closed in 1999. Prior to that it had a reputation locally as a “hard” pub.
Plans to do it up as a “community facility” were originally submitted in 2011 as part of the scheme to redevelop the old James Hall (Spar) distribution centre site. Further applications with amendments were granted in 2015 and 2017. Now a fourth set of plans have been given the thumbs up which council officers believe will bring a long-awaited improvement to the area at the junction of Ribbleton Lane with Thorn Street.
A report by council officers says: “The front elevation is in a state of disrepair and would need to be replaced entirely.”
Planning chiefs admit the plans could have some visual impact on the surrounding properties. But they say: “In the balance of considerations, the visual harm caused on the street scene would not outweigh the benefits of the site to be developed and would thus be acceptable.”
“No objections have been received in relation to the proposed development. The proposal would renovate a derelict building and provide facilities for the new education centre.
“The proposed extension would not have an unacceptable impact upon the street scene or neighbouring amenity.”
Once complete, the education centre will have permission to open from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.