Pub keeps its name after outcry

COMPANY U-TURN: The Old Oak in Hoghton
COMPANY U-TURN: The Old Oak in Hoghton
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A pub company has done a swift U-turn with its controversial plans to rename a popular Chorley village local.

The Old Oak, in Hoghton, was going to be changed to Cromwell’s following a major £180,000 refurbishment.

But villagers were up in arms over the new name – linking it to Oliver Cromwell, the English soldier and statesman – and organised a petition.

Cromwell made England a republic and ruled as Lord Protector from 1653 to 1658

During the English Civil War, Cromwell led the Parliamentarians to victory over the Royalists. The controversial figure became army commander and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, crushing resistance with massacres of garrisons at Drogheda and Wexford in 1649. He deported thousands of Irish to slavery.

Villagers argued that The Old Oak had been a hub of the community for generations of Hoghton residents. They added that the name Cromwell was inappropriate and could cause offence.

But in less than a week, hardly before a musket shot was fired, pub owner Punch Taverns has surrendered.

A spokesman said when the local campaign to retain the Old Oak name was brought to the attention of new tenant Adam Chapman and the company, both parties “immediately took note of the comments and passion expressed by the local residents”. Punch Taverns’ Andy Slee said: “We decided to change the name of the pub in order to give it a fresh beginning to go with the new look.

“We take the concerns of the local community very seriously and when we became aware of the affection for the existing name in the area we were always going to listen. It became obvious to retain the Old Oak as the pub’s identity.”

Adam said: “We are extremely excited about the £180,000 refurbishment planned for the pub and look forward to welcoming all the community and those from further afield to their new-look local.”

The Old Oak will close on Monday and is expected to reopen in early April.