Hoping for a roaring success

The former Spar shop and Post Office on Hough Lane, which could become a Wetherspoons and called the Leyland Lion
The former Spar shop and Post Office on Hough Lane, which could become a Wetherspoons and called the Leyland Lion

Wetherspoons has confirmed it will be opening in Leyland.

The pub giant is to open in the former Spar shop in Hough Lane, and intends to call it The Leyland Lion.

If the £730,000 project gets the go-ahead, it is expected to create around 35 jobs.

A spokesman for the firm, Eddie Gershon, said: “This planning application really shows our commitment to the scheme. We are really keen to open in Leyland.”

The application, which was sent to South Ribble Borough Council, also includes an advertising scheme, installing 10 CCTV cameras, and lighting and ventilation equipment.

The name The Leyland Lion comes from the famous Leyland Motors’ Lion bus.

Architectural design company, rjd, came up with the name.

They said: “The Lion bus proved to be a winner for Leyland Motors, and, by 1928, around 2,500 Lion buses had been sold and were in use all over the world.

“Around this time, Leyland’s main motor works were still concentrated on the north and south sides of Hough Lane, near the former Spar and Post Office site.”

Resident David Hill, of nearby Bannister Road, has lived in the town for 30 years.

He said: “I think The Leyland Lion is a really good name, and I made the connection with the bus straight away. I think a lot of people will.

“I think this is just what this part of Leyland needs, because it seems to have slowly been killed off over the years.”

The Guardian ran a special investigation at the start of the year about the amount of shops which have closed on Hough Lane in recent months, with people describing it as a ‘ghost town’.

The two-storey building at number 60 has stood empty since Spar moved out in March 2009.

So plans to bring a big name to the area have been welcomed by businessman Paul Atkinson, who runs Atkinson Jewellers across the road from the site.

He said: “It’s pitch black out there at night. There’s nothing inviting people round here anymore, like Spar’s lights used to.

“People are buzzing about Leyland making a comeback. The Leyland Lion could become Leyland’s biggest pub, which will really help boost the area.

“It’ll benefit the other traders and even the other pub owners, because having a Wetherspoons will encourage people to visit this end of Leyland and see what’s on offer here. It may even bring people from outside of the area.

“With the way things are going at the moment, big companies are building outside of the town and, pretty soon, we won’t have a town left.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will bring Leyland back to life.”

Would YOU be happy if Wetherspoons comes to Leyland? Email your comments to kay.taylor@lep.co.uk