A ‘micro pub’ designed to become a ‘community hub’ is set to open in a former travel agency in Leyland.
A landlord has put forward new plans to open the ‘pop-up pub’ in Hough Lane, which will only seat around 35 people, and will close by 9pm midweek.
Danny Hindle and his wife Alison currently run the Railway pub on Preston Road, and have come up with an idea to open a new establishment with a different concept.
“We believe this will be the first of its kind in Lancashire,” Danny said. “Micro pubs are very popular down south, because licensing laws changed a few years ago to allow pubs to open in former shops.
“We want to really go back to basics with this one, and to create somewhere which will be the hub of the community.”
Micro pubs are small pubs which are generally opened in disused shops, and they only sell cask ales, wines and soft drinks - no larger or spirits.
They also offer a limited food selection, such as pork pies and cheese platters, and do not play any music or host entertainment - even mobile phones are banned in most of them.
Danny addedd: “Personally I think it’s a really great idea. It’s something a bit different for Leyland.
“It’s about getting people talking to each other instead of watching the TV.
“It will be completely different from the Railway, which is very much entertainments-lead. We want to branch out and cater to a new set of customers with the micro pub.
“I think it will attract the cask ale lovers to Leyland, and it’s the perfect place to open something like this.”
Danny came up with the idea after reading about micro pubs in a trade magazine, and he visited a few in Kent during a trip recently.
He was in London for the Great British Pub Awards, where the Railway won the North West Sports Pub of the Year title, and instantly got a good feel for them.
“Everyone just instantly starts talking to you,” he said. “And the beauty of these places is that the overheads are low. Opening a big pub is hard, but I’m really hopeful this stands a good chance of lasting in the long term.”
The shop he’s chosen is a former travel agents at No.33 Hough Lane, on the corner of the high street and the entrance to Leyland Market.
Danny and Alison want to call it The Market Ale House, and believe it will help boost trade in the area.
Danny said: “It’s right in the middle of the high street, so people might pop in after they’ve been to the market.
“It’s also right in the centre of a good circuit of ‘real ale’ pubs.
“We’ll look to offer about four or five ales, and maybe a cider, and there are plenty of micro breweries in Lancashire which we can support through our micro pub.”
He added that The Market Ale House will hold 60 patrons in total, and will close by around 9pm midweek, and 11pm on the weekends.
A planning application to transform the premises has been submitted to South Ribble Council, and a decision is set to be made by delegated powers in the coming weeks.
The licensing and lease process is also underway, and if the project gets approved, Danny hopes to open the new venture in time for the Christmas season. “I think that shop has been empty for about 18 months now,” he added. “So I’m sure people will be pleased to see something occupy it. It’s looking a bit tatty now.
“I’m also sure they’ll be happier with a micro pub opening, rather than another charity shop.
“It will really add to the social scene in Leyland.
“I wanted to do this in my hometown; I was born and bred in Leyland, and I can’t imagine doing this anywhere else.”
Michael Clark, from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said he welcomed the move.
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