Top bar bids to save Institute

Feature on Layton.(Westcliffe Drive). Layton Institute.
Feature on Layton.(Westcliffe Drive). Layton Institute.
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A PUB owner today revealed he hopes to take over troubled Layton Institute.

Paul Kelly, who operates three Ma Kelly venues in Blackpool, has been in touch with the club with a view to buying it after the doors close for the final time on Sunday.

Mr Kelly intends to plough £300,000 into revamping the premises.

He hopes to bring his tried-and-tested formula of affordable drinks and entertainment to the venue.

As reported in yesterday’s Gazette, the Layton Institute is closing due to mounting debts.

Mick Sugden, who is also a director at Ma Kelly’s, said: “Paul wants to bring the institute back to how it used to be.

“Local people have been good to him since he opened his venues in Blackpool and he wants to give something back. For instance jobs will be lost when the venue closes, and we want to save those jobs.

“He has put his proposals to the secretary of the institute and is waiting to hear what the committee thinks.

“The aim is to bring back the games room with pool, darts and snooker teams, while the lounge would the entertainment room. Upstairs we will bring back the summer show with the Ma Kelly showgirls, and there will also be a function room for people to hire out.”

If his purchase goes ahead, Mr Kelly also intends to create a beer garden and children’s play area on the now defunct bowling green.

The green had been earmarked for a housing development but Blackpool Council’s planning committee threw the scheme out.

There are currently three Ma Kelly’s venues in Blackpool – at The Station on Dickson Road which also includes Frankie’s Lounge, at the Foxhall on Foxhall Road, and at the Stanley Arms on Chapel Street. It is proposed to rename the institute the New Layton. The venue is currently a members club, but a new licence would be sought to enable it to open to all potential customers.

The decision to close the Layton Institute, which had been due to celebrate its centenary this year, was taken at an emergency meeting on Sunday.

Members were told it was no longer financially viable to keep the struggling club open.