A family boating company is expanding its horizons...by starting a teepee wedding venue!
John and Lesley Yates of Canal Boat Cruises, based at Riley Green Marina near Chorley, have set their eyes on an eight-acre site alongside the marina – with four giant teepees to host weddings and functions, an outdoor learning and activity centre and a new cafe.
Lesley said: “We bought the land to build an access road and car park. We had excess with it so we decided to make use of the site. We are hoping to turn it into a countryside vistor centre and do tie that in with the canal system.
“We will use it for events and wedding but we are also looking to working with primary schools to develop an education programme that ties in with learning about the waterways and countryside.
"The tipis will be used as a interactive classroom.”
READ MORE: Places to go canal boating in Lancashire
Lesley, who has run the boat business since 2006, has said that the project – called Tipi’s At Riley Green – will create 10 new jobs in addition to 12 they already employ.
Planning permission has already been secured as well as a £98,000 grant towards the cost of the work from the Rural Development Programme for England.
They have also secured a £130,000 from Lancashire Rosebud Finance to assist in funding the project.
Lancashire County Coun Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, said: “They’re now looking to create the space to grow their business, which will attract new people into the area and create new jobs.”
Last year more than 60 firefighters and eight fire engines tackled a pub fire at The Grill and Grain at The Boatyard next to Canal Boat Cruises of Riley Green.
Flames tore through its roof and interior five months after a £1m investment.
Lesley said: “The Boatyard burnt down right next to our site.
“There was the closure of the canal locks over the summer too. So this is something that will help us in terms of disruption to our business.
“This is all about job safety for the business and the people who work for the business – and keeping us in the community.”