New Kirkham restaurant banks on council grant support

A new restaurant in Kirkham is the latest business to receive a £10,000 grant from a fund dedicated to boosting town centres across Fylde.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:45 pm

The ARG Vacant Premises Grant available via Fylde Council enables businesses locating to, or expanding into, vacant town centre premises to apply to receive 50 per cent of the set-up, shop fit, refit or branding costs at a value of up to £10,000.

Following a complete refit of the former HSBC bank in Poulton Street, previously the Midland and which closed in 2015, the family-run Old Bank Restaurant will be opening there next month serving British food, Thursday to Sunday.

Owners Andrew and James Booker, who also run the town’s popular Tap and Vent Brewhouse said: “We bought the premises in December 2019 with the aim of it becoming a restaurant but then, of course, Covid arrived.

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James and Andrew Booker of the Old Bank Restaurant in Kirkham receiving their grant cheque from Coun Richard Redcliffe

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“A couple of people that used to work at the Midland Bank have already been in touch through our Facebook page and told us they’re looking forward to booking a table and seeing how the building has been transformed. As the interior of the restaurant has been renovated, we’ve tried to maintain some of its original character and include some quirky touches that give a nod to the venue’s previous identity.

“We’ve kept some of the bank’s most distinctive features; the vaults are being used as our pot washing and preparation area, and we’ve kept the steel reinforced door and repurposed the vault lift as a dumb waiter.

“Along with some pieces from local artists celebrating the area’s heritage, we also commissioned a griffin statue to go above the door in recognition of the Midland Bank’s 1980’s advertising campaigns featuring this mythical creature.

“We recognised the need for a first-rate restaurant in Kirkham and the feedback from our customers at the Tap & Vent was that it would be a great idea. A high-quality eatery should be really well received and we’re excited to finally welcome customers, whether they’re visitors to the area or locals that will hopefully become our regulars.

“You have to be prepared to grow the market and we have lots of exciting plans for the restaurant and its menu, including things like theme nights, so watch this space!”

Coun Richard Redcliffe, chairman of Fylde Council's town centre working group, presented the cheque and congratulated Andrew, Julie and son James on their success so far.

“It’s wonderful to see a new restaurant opening in the town centre, especially as restrictions continue to ease and people are looking to rediscover all the great independent venues that Kirkham has to offer," he said.

“I’m delighted to see another hard-working business take advantage of the ARG Vacant Premises Grant, which is just one of the ways the council is supporting the recovery of the local economy. We’re still receiving lots of excellent applications and we will continue to share these success stories.

“The Booker family are obviously very passionate and experienced in the hospitality sector, so I’m looking forward to seeing this venture flourish in the coming months.”

Funding from the ARG Vacant Premises Grant is still available and details are available at https://new.fylde.gov.uk/covid-business-guidance/

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