More bedrooms needed to make village pub a viable business


Plans have been submitted to erect an annex building at a vacant public house in Little Warford to create an additional 10 bedrooms.

Ribble Valley Inns, who purchased The Stag's Head on Mill Lane in 2014, state that they need these additional rooms in order to make the pub a viable business in the long term.

The pub lies in the Green Belt and the annex is proposed to be built on a site where there is an existing structure which was previously used as a pig shed.

The company was granted planning permission in November 2016 (reference 16/4079M) to alter the existing public house and convert and extend the existing barn to form a new restaurant and 4 hotel bedrooms.

However, the application states "The planning permission approved for the extension to the hotel and creation of 4 bedrooms is not viable for the developer. As demonstrated in the Investment Appraisal, for the scheme to be deliverable and viable, the additional bedrooms are required. In short with the 10 additional bedrooms Ribble Valley Inns have calculated a 20.7% profit and with the previous planning permission without the 10 bedrooms is calculated at 2% profit."

The annex would contain five bedrooms on the ground floor and five bedrooms located on the first floor. The car park would be located to the west of the pub with spaces for 49 vehicles.

The Stag's Head closed in September 2014 and has been vacant since then. If planning permission is granted they say the developer can deliver the scheme as soon as possible, but if it is refused the scheme would not be financially viable so it could result in the loss of the village pub and the building remaining vacant.

The application states "The loss of the village pub is considered a great loss to the local community. The proposed development would create a community hub to encourage community cohesion. There has been significant support from local residents as identified during the public consultation event."

Ribble Valley Inns is part of the Northcote Group of Companies which also includes the Michelin Star restaurant Northcote, near Blackburn. The Northcote Group is co-founded by Head Chef Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft, who is responsible for creating the wine lists.

If the plans go ahead The Stag's Head will be the sixth Ribble Valley Inn and the second in Cheshire with the group having opened The Nag's Head pub in Haughton Moss in 2014, which the company says made net losses of £500,000 in its first two years.

As a result, Ribble Valley Inns have adapted their strategy to diversify their offer to ensure the business remains viable in the long term. In order to remain competitive, the company is now looking for acquisitions that accommodate 10 to 18 bedrooms to add a higher margin income stream to support the mid-week food and beverage activity.

The planning application can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council website by searching for planning reference 17/0837M. The last date for submitting comments is 15th March and a decision is expected by 11th April.

Planning Applications, Ribble Valley Inns, The Stags Head


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Pete Taylor
Monday 20th February 2017 at 3:33 pm
I hope this venture does well; this used to be a great pub.