One of the most prominent businessmen on the Fylde coast spoke about his pride for the area at the opening of a revamped bar and restaurant.
Simon Rigby MBE, who owns the Villa chain of restaurants and hotels said the investment at the Villa Italian at Wesham was the latest in a series across the business.
The revamped bar was officially opened by the Mayor of Fylde, Coun Christine Akeroyd, with Jayne Taylor, general manager at the Villa Group.
He said the Villa Italian was aimed at the business and family market, “good quality but without being pretentious”, and not too dissimilar from his country house brand seen at The Villa at Wrea Green and at Levens in Cumbria.
He said: “We are very proud to be a local business we have used local artisans to effect something here which the whole borough can be proud of.
“If a job is worth doing it is worth doing properly and I am very happy to keep investing in successful businesses.
“We have started at one end of the building doing all the bedrooms, creating suites, all the way through to the kitchens and restaurant. The bar area was the last bit, turning what was a 1970s pub into a contemporary lounge bar.”
He bought the pub in April 2014 to create the Villa Italian and his Leaf or Bean cafe but got the adjoining hotel six months before that, from a separate owner.
“There is a fantastic market for decent grade accommodation, so we have gone for the Villa Express, people understand that concept for a business class hotel.
“We also operate country house hotels and we operate specialist respite car hotels with our Safe Hands brand.
“We have a local joinery workshop which has made all the fitting for us here, that Lancastrian way of pulling your self up by your bootstraps is alive and well.
“It is the same at the Guild Hall where we have a Villa Italian. There, we have just put in our first two executive boxes now. You have to provide a fully comprehensive service these days. It’s about giving people choice.”