“Penwortham is on the up” claims the man behind plans to turn an “eyesore” former supermarket into a high-end restaurant and shops.
Warren Ward has bought the former Booths supermarket building in Liverpool Road, which has been empty for almost a decade.
With the help of fellow Penwortham residents, builder David Dean, and architect Neil Anyon, he aims to breathe life into the “run down” end of town.
He said: “I used that shop when it was open. When it came up for sale, I met up with Dave and Neil to discuss it, and ended up buying it just before Christmas.
“It’s too big to use as just one thing, so that’s why we’re dividing it up into a restaurant and two retail units.”
The restaurant will be big enough to house 16 or 17 tables or booths, with a contemporary look featuring bi-folding doors, anthracite-coloured windows and outdoor seating.
Warren said : “At the moment, it’s a shell and it’s degrading all the time. It desperately needs attention, and there will probably be a great deal of money spent on it.
“We’re hopeful that plans will be passed in the next few weeks and that we can start work relaying the pavement at the front, removing a dead tree, and completing a new frontage by Christmas.
“We hope by then it will be aesthetically pleasing and will get people interested in what we’re doing. I want it to be the best-looking shop front on the high street.”
Warren, who runs Lifescape, a grounds maintenance company employing ex-offenders and also has a consulting company advising on cost operations, said he has had interest in the restaurant and the retail units, but is yet to accept an offer.
He said: “We want it to be a nice restaurant where people get dressed up to go on a Friday and Saturday night, with a slightly different offering during the week.
“There’s enough chimney pots in Penwortham to sustain a good restaurant, and the area is nowhere near saturated.
“I’ve spoken to other business owners in the area and they recognise that another restaurant here is a good thing. It will drive footfall and you’ll get a round-robin type thing where people will go to a bar for a few drinks, then to another, then to a restaurant.”
He is keen to embrace a ‘Penwortham Pound’ idea, where local people spend money locally, benefiting the local community.
He said: “This isn’t just for investment purposes, I live round the corner. That’s why I’m so keen that it looks good and that we get a good operator.
“Investment is local, it has been designed locally, it will be built locally, and will be used by locals.
“I’m excited to get started”.
Should planning permission be granted, it is hoped that work will be completed and the restaurant and units will be open by March or April next year.