A popular Wigan pub and carvery restaurant could be calling last orders as an eating and drinking venue even as it looks to re-open.
The Vale Royal, near St John Rigby College, has been bought by Publican, the same company which has taken on The Crown at Worthington.
However, the firm said anyone thinking of running the building where large queues once formed for plates piled high with traditional roast meals would be taking on a massive financial task and slammed the size of payments pub and restaurant owners must fork out.
That means that the search for new tenants is being broadened out well beyond the hospitality industry, with the owners mooting the idea the place could be split into a number of units to become a community hub.
However, Publican said it would battle to stop the Vale Royal being bulldozed and ensure whatever opens there works for the community and provides services to Wigan’s residents.
Publican spokesperson Gary Lewis said: “More and more houses are springing up but there doesn’t seem to be the facilities to support the requirements of the communities.
“Most of the other interested buyers wanted to knock the Vale Royal down and build houses, but this is not our aim. I’m constantly hearing that people are looking to rent buildings to start a business but that there is nothing available.
“The Vale Royal is a big old building. It can seat over 150 people at any one time, it has a fabulously-equipped kitchen so would make a great restaurant, but it does need some investment to get it back on track.
“One problem with the Vale Royal being a pub or restaurant is that the rates on pubs are much higher that on other businesses.
“The rates for the Vale Royal, if it continues to be a pub or restaurant, are around £30,000 per year. The rates are crushing the pub industry.
“One solution is to split the building into three sections allowing three different businesses the chance to progress.
“It’s early days yet but I’ve had interest regarding cafes, children’s nurseries, drama schools, yoga and Zumba classes, dance schools and nail or beauty business.
“I think all of these various enterprises would benefit each other and the rates are then much less.
“I think it would be a superb nursery with a coffee shop, sandwich shop or ice cream parlour-type business also on the site. This could create a real social community vibe.”
Mr Lewis said the large car park on site made it ideal as a base for businesses or social enterprises and being next to the sixth form college could create opportunities for young people studying to be both customers and employees of anyone moving in.
As is the case with The Crown at Worthington Publican is looking for tenants at the Vale Royal rather than seeking to run it itself.
Anyone interested in renting the pub should email firstname.lastname@example.org