Live music dropped from latest plans to redevelop iconic gig venue in Preston
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Plans for an arts and entertainment basement in the former Lamb Hotel in Church Street have been dropped and replaced by flats.
The latest scheme for the historic alehouse, submitted to the council just before Christmas, shows the idea to bring music back to the Lamb 24 years after it closed as a pub appears to have been abandoned.
Instead the cellar area is now earmarked for residential, just like the other three floors above which became a house in multiple occupation in 2000. The owners want to create two more bedrooms to add to the 14 the building already has.
The news will come as a blow to music lovers who recall the days when the Lamb was a busy pub and an important venue for live entertainment. It was especially noted for folk music, attracting bumper audiences for its folk evenings. It also became known as Preston's premier "alternative" live music venue.
It was a regular haunt for names like Bobby Elliott, drummer with the Hollies, ex-Rubettes guitarist Tony Thorpe (with his band Gas Company) and Ian Kirkham who often played with Simply Red. Comedian Phil Cool was also known to drop in to sing with Bob Johnson and the Bobcats. After it closed in 1999 and downbeat former regulars were still mourning its passing 10 years later when they held an anniversary reunion in 2009.
The pub dates back more than 200 years and is Grade II Listed. In the previous planning application submitted in February last year Preston architects Studio John Bridge said the proposed work would "enhance the building experience and its reference to the times when the Lamb was a thriving public house in the live music scene of the 80s and 90s." At the time boss John Bridge admitted it was something of a labour of love for him as his dad Rob used to play at the pub with rock band Touch in the 1990s.
The plans were approved by the city council, but now a new set have gone in, minus the arts and music idea for the basement. The new layout will give the building 15 rooms as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) and one self-contained flat.
The pub, which called time in 1999 after serving beer for two centuries, was originally called the Holy Lamb. But it changed its name to the Lamb Hotel in 1874 because it was felt it was inappropriate to call an alehouse holy.
It was the place where the Lancashire Evening Post Sunday Football League was formed in 1967. And in more recent times it earned a reputation far and wide for its contribution to the music scene and the quality of its live music.
A structural report submitted with the plans found some walls and floors were out of plumb and other issues were raised. But the report adds: "Overall the structure is considered to be generally structurally sound and fit for future development."