Support Our Town: Tea room wants to sell alcohol and open longer

Pam and Jessica Campbell at Coppers Tea Room
Pam and Jessica Campbell at Coppers Tea Room
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A traditional tea room in Leyland could soon start serving alcohol, in an effort to attract more people in the evenings.

Owners of Coppers Tea Room, based in the old police station on Golden Hill, want to create a bistro-atmosphere with food and wine, and have applied for a licence from South Ribble Council.

Manager Pam Campbell said: “We feel it would be a good move forward for the business, and would be a way of attracting young couples to the tea room.

“We’re located in between the Railway pub and Wetherspoons, and they both do really well, so we want to encourage people to stay in Leyland instead of going into Preston at weekends.

“People could maybe go to a pub for a drink, then come to us for a meal, and then continue into the town centre for the rest of the night.”

The tea room currently opens from 10am until 4pm, but the application to the council asks for permission to stay open and play recorded music from 9am until 11pm from Monday to Saturday, and until 4pm on Sunday.

Despite this, Pam says that if the plans are given the go-ahead, she would only actually want to open late at weekends, and said the idea came after a successful trial-run on Valentine’s Day.

“We served food and it seemed quite popular, so we want to move forward with this now.

“I know the Town Team is wanting to create a better evening economy in Leyland as part of the Mary Portas bid, and I think this really supports that vision.”

The tea room opened in June last year, and Pam uses the police station’s history to the business’s advantage.

People visit from all over Lancashire to have a look at the old cells at the back of the main tea room, and Pam and her three members of staff hear all sorts of tales from knowledgeable customers.

“We apparently have a ghost in here,” she revealed. “I haven’t seen it myself, but a former policeman came in once and said that in his time, two colleagues and the cleaner all reported seeing it.

“We talk to customers about the history of the place; it opened in 1882 and was also a family home.

“We have a photo of the family, with 12 children, but we don’t know too much about them.

“We’re always keen to hear from people who know more, or have any photos which we could put on the walls of the police station.”

Pam’s husband Tim runs the Campbells vehicles firm from upstairs with son Liam, while daughter Jessica helps Pam out in the tea room.

They offer afternoon teas with cakes, as well as light lunches, and hope to employ more staff if the plans to open in the evenings are passed.

“We want to offer a small menu,” Pam said. “And for it to have a bistro-theme at night.

“We don’t see it as being competition for the pubs; we think it could really help Leyland as a whole.

“It’s a thriving little place and Leyland’s night life seems to have really picked up since Wetherspoons opened, particularly at this end of town.”

- For more on the town’s plans for an evening economy as part of the Portas Pilot bid, see this week’s Guardian.