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


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

David Kendrick
Saturday 18th February 2017 at 7:11 am
It would be great to see this back open and Northcote manor is amazing so if that's anything to go by let this get passed and the stag back open
Roger Bagguley
Saturday 18th February 2017 at 10:25 am
I am in support of this planning application. This site of the once popular Stags Head needs an uplift to avoid dereliction. It is an example of a brown site within the Green Belt which, tastefully developed, brings with it a feeling of a well managed rural area community. A place where people want to live, work and visit.
Rick Andrews
Sunday 19th February 2017 at 11:15 am
Makes sense to allow limited expansion so that the new business can be successful. Better to have a pub and restaurant which we can use than see it turned into yet another apartment development. Looking forward to trying the food.
Maxine Stott
Wednesday 22nd February 2017 at 12:00 pm
The closure of the Stag has been a great loss to the people who live Great Warford, and as no one in the community objects to the building of the extra rooms I can't understand why the council would .
Bob Bracegirdle
Wednesday 22nd February 2017 at 7:41 pm
Oh for the happy days we could travel up there by the 48 bus from Macclesfield, Mottram, and Alderley. 10.30pm bus back home on Wednesdays Saturdays and Sunday's!

Open it up.
Simon Worthington
Thursday 23rd February 2017 at 8:11 am
This kind of business provides plenty of jobs for locals. Get on with it.