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North West operator & Star invests £330k in Preston pub

North West multiple operator, Ross Robinson is undertaking a second transformational refurbishment with Star Pubs & Bars in six months.

The Ship at Freckleton on the Fylde coast is to benefit from a £330k sympathetic upgrade which will create 18 new jobs.

Robinson intends to repeat the success of the refurbishment of The Eagle at Weeton, which saw a 500% increase in post refurbishment trade.

The team has run the pub for the last 18 months getting to know the local area and its customers and is keen to maintain the building’s original features, quirky character and cask ale reputation, whilst bringing it up to date and broadening its appeal.

The Ship at Freckleton dates back to the 14th century and is believed to be Fylde’s oldest pub. It will be closed from 14 October through to 24 November while building work takes place.

As a result of the investment the seating capacity will increase from 90 to 120 necessitating a new kitchen to cater for the increased covers.

As a result of the investment the seating capacity will increase from 90 to 120. There will be a characterful old-fashioned ‘Captain’s deck’ on the first floor with tables and chairs seating 29 that can also be used for private events & functions. This will lead on to a new first-floor outside viewing platform offering alfresco dining for 12.

There will also be a cosy private dining room called ‘The Captain’s Cabin’ with a striking circular compass table seating 16 guests, as well as reclaimed naval light fittings, maps & artwork. And for larger parties wanting to celebrate in style, the whole first floor and viewing platform can be booked.

Downstairs, the loos are being moved to create a new bar area for 30 drinkers with a communal high table seating eight customers where they can relax and enjoy bar snacks and fresh barista style coffee in the day as well as ale, prosecco and cocktails in the evening. There will also be a counter for customers to buy sweets and dog treats including cupcakes for dogs.

The exposed ceiling and brickwork are being retained. Two open fires and being reinstated to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and timber floorboards, flagstones, rustic wood wall panelling, and foliage fitted to enhance the pub’s character.

The beer garden, which overlooks the marshland and seats 80, is being landscaped with wooden garden furniture restored or replaced, new flagstones and decking laid as well as festoon lighting and gas heaters fitted to make the most of summer evenings. There will also be a sheltered area for drinkers underneath the new viewing platform.

Robinson said, “The Ship at Freckleton is a lovely country pub but needed investment and a bit of love. 15 years ago it was thriving but in recent times it has become dated and tired leading to some villagers choosing to go further afield. It’s in a fantastic location and has some great features, which are being retained and enhanced.

“We’ve been delighted with the two refurbishments we’ve done with Star Pubs & Bars and are on the lookout for more well-located sites. Our plan is to take on another pub in April and at the end of 2020, bringing our estate to five.”

David Pritchard, regional operations director of Star Pubs & Bars, said, “This will be the second investment we’ve done with Ross in six months, and I am confident it will be a great success like The Eagle.

'The pubs have their own unique characters but have in common high standards, great food and drinks and both will be refurbished to a high standard when The Ship at Freckleton is finished. Ross runs a very professional operation and has a real understanding of what their customers want. It’s a winning combination.”