Uncertain future for historic ice cream site
The owner of a historic ice cream factory has admitted the business faces an uncertain future after lodging plans for eight homes on the land.
Martin Molloy, owner of Bonds of Elswick, has applied to Fylde Council for outline planning permission to build the properties following the demolition of the existing buildings.
Mr Molloy said the application is to help put a value on the site – but hoped it would be retained for the sale of ice cream in the future.
Molloy: “At the moment quite a few things need doing (to the factory). I am 67-years-old and I have not got anyone to take over.
“We are contemplating putting it on the market. Banks do not like lending money on the business.
“I have put in a planning application to get a value on the land. If we want to borrow money to do the place up it is a way for someone to put value on the land.
“It does raise questions about the future of the business. We cannot do this without causing a ripple – there is uncertainty.
“I am hoping, if we were to get new owners, we would trade under the same name. I will stay on for the foreseeable future. Potentially it could be sold.”
Bonds ice cream has been made in the village for more than 70 years.
There are six full-time members of staff, with up to 20 staff working weekends during the summer.
Mr Molloy said on a busy Sunday more than 1,000 people visit the village – providing a boost to traders.
But he said the decision to lodge a planning application was “a big wrench.”
He added: “The plans are for a full eight houses on site. But doing that there is nothing wrong with building four houses and keeping the main part of Bonds Ice Cream.
“A business which does not move forward stalls.
“The costs involved are high. It is a problem to borrow money at my age.
“It has been a very, very awkward decision. I have been here more than 50 years. It is a big wrench.”
Elswick Coun Paul Hayhurst added: “Martin Molloy has put in the application to test the value of the land. It is worth more in respect of housing than it is for the business.
“He is just testing the market value.”