Two years after the long term future of a Chorley pub was secured the new team behind it is celebrating restoring it to past glories.
Euxton Mills bar and restaurant off Dawbers Lane, Euxton, has been taken over by father and son team Lee and Leam Moffitt.
And following a £21,000 external restoration project to the popular watering hole, the team invited Chorley’s Deputy Mayor and Mayoress, Coun Greg and Jocelyn Morgan, to celebrate son Leam taking over the establishment as landlord on a five-year lease.
Dad Lee said: “It was in December last year that Leam was managing other pubs in hospitality but as you’re probably aware there’s a lot of zero hours work, hospitality can be a brutal industry.
“He found somewhere in Southport [to take over] but I said it’s not the right time – but if we found the right opportunity I would help fund it.”
Leam, 25, added: “I’ve worked for other people in the past and it’s always been a bit of a nightmare to be honest; so it was my dad that wanted to help get me out of that and working for myself.”
The Moffitt team decided upon Euxton Mills, knowing the pub from living in Eaves Green during Leam’s childhood, and decided it was the perfect opportunity.
Lee, 50, added: “I used to play rugby in Chorley so I knew it from its heyday. There was two or three times in Leam’s youth where we’d try to go have Sunday lunch there and it was full – so it was a shock to see the state it was in [before taking over].”
Recounting his visits from his younger days, former Runshaw College student Leam added: “I don’t remember this, but mum said when we were leaving it because it was fully booked I said I wanted my own pub and to own Euxton Mills so it’s quite funny how it has turned out.”
Euxton Mills formerly belonged to brewing company Marstons, which in 2016 sold the pub – and more than 200 others – to New River Retail, a real estate investment trust.
Following that an outline planning application was submitted to Chorley Council for residential development on pub’s car park.
But the Central Lancashire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) stepped in to help efforts to protect the pub’s future in the community.
It was accepted as an Asset of Community Value by Chorley Council, joining two other successful pub nominations in the town – the Gillibrand Arms, which was put forward by the Save the Gillibrand Group, and the Bridge inn, Adlington.
Regarding the reopening, Lee, who now lives in Wigan, said: “It was such a great evening. The deputy mayor and his concert were brilliant. It was our second best night of takings. The best was during the Beast from the East after we re-lit the old fire.
“We got it checked out to make sure it was safe – it was like a magnet then. Locals were coming in saying they had not seen it lit for 20 years and that it was condemned."
The plan next is to acquire the freehold for the pub, something Lee thinks could happen in the next 12 to 18 months.
The Asset of Community Value listing exists until December 1, 2020.
A spokesman from Chorley Council said: “A community asset is a local building or piece of land which a community considers to be of particular value to the local community.
“A building or piece of land can be considered an asset of the community if its main use has recently been or is presently used to further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community and could do so in the future. A social interest includes cultural, recreational and sporting interests.”