Three Lancashire pubs rescued for their regulars by long-serving publican
Three Lancashire pubs lost to their communities during the coronavirus crisis, have been reopened by a man from a family of publicans.
Paul Bowker and his partner Lisa Stuart, have come to the rescue of three watering holes, Euxton Mills on Wigan Road Euxton, the Top Lock at Wheelton and the Alison Arms at Coppull.
Paul, whose parents, Edward and Jennifer Bowker, ran the Strawberry Gardens in Fleetwood for many years, set up Edwards Village Inns to run pubs as a tenant for owners.
The reopening of the three sites has created 44 jobs.
Paul said: “I have managed pubs professionally for more than 20 years. I was at the Euxton Mills as a manager 10 years ago but I have come back to take it on.
“My family are from Cleveleys so a lot of my work was round that way. I had the Jubilee on the sea front at Cleveleys as manager a couple of years ago for a short while and revived the Dickens Inn.
“I set up my business 18 months ago. I have been in the industry for years and was very successful, so I decided it was time to do something for myself.
“The Euxton Mills stood out for me as I loved it so much from the first time I was there. Euxton is a lovely place and the residents were losing their local. There was a good chance the pub was going to be pulled down and houses built there.
“I jumped on board to save it in the February and then coronavirus happened. It took me six months to even get the keys for the place! It was a testing time but what we did, was take the chance to make the Euxton Mills bigger and better while it was closed.
“We decorated inside, put some outdoor drinking areas, a marquee on the car park and now it is one of the busiest pubs in the area.
“We didn’t get one of the bounce-back loans because our company was too new, but when Chorley Council started giving out grants we qualified and they were very good with us.
“We opened after the first lockdown in the June. It had been shut for six months, the previous tenants had run out of money and left, but we hit the ground running.
“Because people remembered me, the locals were back within weeks.
“I had thought about taking on the Alison Arms since Easter, but the pub had been shut since last October. I saw a campaign from Coppull people trying to get it open again.
“The company that had it was the one I had taken Euxton Mills off so that made things easier. They have agreed to put money in for a complete £150,000 in the New Year.
“There no food there yet, it's just a wet pub, but the locals have their local back.
“The Top Lock is a different company. I loved it when I saw it. It was a similar story, it had been closed. Again there is an investment plan for £120,000 in January which should make it a fantastic destination pub next year.
“Things are going really well and it is great to have created those jobs and given communities their pubs back.”