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35 homes planning application submitted for Hesketh Bank pub site
29 March 2011

By David Simister

The former Becconsall pub, on Station Road in Hesketh Bank.

New plans to demolish an historic pub in the heart of Hesketh Bank spell the end of an era for the village, campaigners have warned this week.

A planning application submitted to West Lancashire Borough Council has proposed the demolition of the former Becconsall Hotel, which closed in 2009, and the building of 35 new homes in its place, which campaign group Save The Bec said yesterday (March 28, 2011) would mean “D Day” for the building.

But Una McBride, speaking on behalf of the group, said it was not all bad news and that by working with developers they had been able to have a positive influence on the pub's plans, and said that despite demolition now seeming likely many victories had been won along the way.

“It seems now, without a wealthy White Knight to step in, with sufficient funds and vision to take over this big project, DDay may be approaching for The iconic Becconsall building. Once The Bec is gone, it’s gone forever and all the history, fun, romances and memory building will be lost, for future generations to enjoy.

Though we may not have won the war, to date we have won several battles along the way. Even though The Bec is marked for demolition rather than restoration, Save The Bec campaigners, have been able to positively influence the new plans drawn up by the developers for the site. Sadly, with the demise of The Bec, I believe, we are also witnessing the end of an era, not just for our village, but the end of an era for our UK culture.”

Hollins Strategic Land, who have applied for outline planning permission to develop the site, said that the 35 homes it was planning to build on the Becconsall site would reflect the rest of Station Road and the wider Hesketh Bank area.

A statement submitted by Sedgwick Associates, the agent acting on behalf of the developers , said:

“The Becconsall closed in 2009 and has remained vacant since despite marketing efforts. The tenants struggled to attract sufficient trade from the local community for several years prior to its closure despite improving the interior and renting out bed-sits at first floor level which brought in some £500 per week. In addition to the marketing undertaken by the freeholder of the property, the public house benefited from additional publicity as a result of a campaign to save it which received local media attention. No positive enquiries were received by public house operators.

"There is a distinct local and borough wide need for both affordable and market housing which the application proposals will deliver. The application site is in a highly sustainable location within the village of Hesketh Bank and the design of the scheme is appropriate for this location, taking full account of the need to preserve the amenity of neighbours and improve the character and appearance of the area."

The planning application is likely to be discussed by West Lancashire Borough Council's planning committee later this year. 


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