Ribble Valley developer scraps plan to convert pub into house after local uproar


A community which once feared losing both its pubs will soon have two once more after the owner of a historic inn made a u-turn after meeting with villagers.

Whalley-based property developer Simon Stansfield bought the Duke of York in Grindleton back in 2018 and initially planned to convert the listed building into a home. However, with the village facing losing both of its pubs – the Duke of York and the Buck Inn – a campaign was set up to save them.

In 2019, two years after the pub closed, the land and buildings were included on a list of assets of community value after being nominated by the Grindleton Community Pub Ltd. The nearby Buck Inn was added to the list in January of the same year after being nominated by Grindleton Parish Council.

READ MORE:Grade II listed Duke of York pub saved from housing plan after community campaign

Although being listed as assets of community value doesn’t prevent a building from being converted or renovated if it was to come up for sale then the community would be given the opportunity to make a bid to buy it on the open market.

When Simon, 46, revealed his plans to convert the Duke of York he was with fierce opposition from villagers with dozens of objections registered with Ribble Valley Borough Council. Now, having been refused permission four times, he has overhauled his plans to re-open the Duke of York as a pub, B&B and café with holiday lets at the side and manager’s accommodation.

Simon held a meeting at Grindleton Pavilion to show his new plans to villagers and he says they were ‘overwhelmingly’ in support of the updated proposal. “When I bought it from the brewery they’d tried with several tenants to make it work as a pub and they all struggled,” he told LancsLive.



The bar at the Duke of York

“So I bought it thinking ‘it doesn’t work as a pub’ so I’ll convert it into a house. But then there was uproar.”

As a pub on its own the Duke of York ‘wouldn’t be viable’ but Simon is hoping to tap into the growing demand for tourist accommodation in the Ribble Valley. Villagers had also expressed a wish to have a café which Simon has obliged with in his new plans.

“We have to approach it from all angles,” he added. “So we’ll have the café open during the day, then the pub serving food and the B&B offering accommodation.”



The Duke of York at Grindleton
The Duke of York at Grindleton

Simon, who is married with three children, estimates he will have to spend around £1.25m developing the pub. He expects the work will take around 18 months but ‘no more than two years’.

And as well as keeping the villagers happy by re-opening their beloved pub Simon’s new venture will create a number of jobs ranging from kitchen porters to waitresses, housekeepers and chefs.



How the pub and holiday lets will look
How the pub and holiday lets will look

“I’m really pleased we’ve managed to come up with something that the community is happy with,” Simon added. “I just hope that now we have their support we’ll be able to get permission and get on with the work.”

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