£1.8m bid to save historic Blackpool pub

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A historic Blackpool pub is set for a £1.8m investment after previous owners walked away from the project due to the extent of repairs which are needed.

The Halfway House on Squires Gate Lane, South Shore, has been shrouded in scaffolding for months, but work stopped in the summer.

Scaffolding around the Halfway House

Scaffolding around the Halfway House

Now Manchester-based brewery Joseph Holt has stepped in to buy the property which dates back to the 19th century and is one of Blackpool's oldest pubs.

It has submitted plans to Blackpool Council seeking permission to restore the hostelry and convert it into a family-friendly restaurant with a public bar.

According to papers lodged with the planning application, previous owner Enterprise Inns "abandoned planned refurbishment works" when it discovered serious structural problems in the building.

A design statement accompanying the application warns "the building is in danger of not surviving owing to the prevailing structural problems".

It adds: "The applicant has taken on a building that has serious construction and repair problems that require a not inconsiderable financial investment to deal with and give this building a new lease of life.

"Joseph Holt Ltd has committed to the costly repairs (£1.8m total investment), as they believe there is a future for the building in the form of a family-based restaurant."

The application sets out repairs which need to be done which include work to make the external brickwork safe, completion of the re-roofing in slate and removal of defective chimneys and dormers.

Extensions are proposed to create a family dining area and a larger kitchen.

The car park would also be extended into the former bowling green, and new outdoor terraces and a children's play area would be created.

Joseph Holt already operates a number of restaurant-style pubs including the Water's Edge in St Annes which was a new-build project.

The planning statement adds: "The move from traditional drinkers-pubs to a more family-orientated restaurant or eatery with a smaller bar is where the market has been heading for a number of years now."

The Halfway House, which is locally listed, was built around 1899 but there has been an inn on the site since around 1835.

If planning permission is granted, it is hoped work could begin by the end of January.