Pub plan for Preston city centre building

The Continental pub in Preston
The Continental pub in Preston
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A historic city centre building is to get a new lease of life as Preston’s first craft beer pub.

The owners of the New Continental have been given planning permission to transform part of the old Co-operative building on Ormskirk Road into a bar.

Pub plan: New Continental owner Jeremy Rowlands outside the building on Ormskirk Road

Pub plan: New Continental owner Jeremy Rowlands outside the building on Ormskirk Road

The new pub, to be named The Co-Op, is aiming to open around May or June.

Jeremy Rowlands, who co-owns the Continental, said: “We are due to sign the lease in the next couple of weeks.

“After that it will be all systems go.

“There will be quite a different feel to what we are doing in the city centre to the New Continental.

“It will be Preston’s first craft beer pub with an interesting range of drinks.

“There will be a performance space and also food, a bit lighter with more snacks than at the Continental.”

The New Continental on South Meadow Lane was taken over by Mr Rowlands and Ruth Heritage in 2008.

Its combination of offering food, regular beer festivals and cultural events has helped to revive the fortunes of the riverside pub, which had lain empty before they renovated it and turned a kids’ indoor play area into space for live music and theatre.

A planning statement, sent to Preston Council in support of the scheme by Francis Roberts Architects, says the new pub will help regenerate a “neglected” area of the city centre.

It adds: “Ormskirk Road, Lancaster Road and the bus station/markets area are under-provided with quality bar/restaurant facilities and providing a development of this type will serve the needs of the general public, office workers and professionals working on the crown court on Ring Way, as well as local authority staff on Lancaster Road.”

The Co-operative building was previously split up into different units. The old So Noddles bar and an office will now be rejoined to form a ground floor bar area with a basement.

Mr Rowlands said: “There is quite a bit of refurbishment needed but it’s a lovely building.”