Work begins to transform High Cross Inn at Broughton

WORK to transform a derelict pub into a high-quality, sustainable development is well underway.

Construction work has begun on The High Cross Inn at Broughton after the former pub was bought by the family-owned construction company Neil Price Ltd in March 2019.

Three years ago the company put forward plans for five holiday cottages and to remodel the building into a cafe which received the green light six months ago.

The pub lay empty for a number of years after it was unexpectedly put on the market in 2018.

Previous to this the business was a popular venue for wedding receptions, birthdays, gigs and other social events.

In 2020, the company revealed plans to refurbish the former pub building and convert it into a cafe or tearoom.

READ MORE: New owner of derelict pub reveals exciting transformation plans

Company secretary of Neil Price, Charles Price told The Mail in 2020 that renovation works may take a ‘couple of years’ to be completed.

A year and a half on, the former pub has been bulldozed – and works are underway on the High Cross Inn to create a café/restaurant as well as six one and two-bedroom holiday lets.

A spokesman for Neil Price Ltd said: “We are pleased to confirm that works are now underway at High Cross to provide a high quality, sustainable development of a cafe/restaurant and six individual one and two bedroom holiday lets.

“Due to the very poor condition of the original building, the significant works it would take to try to save it and the compromises in terms of energy efficiency we took the decision to demolish and re-build.

“The new development will be built with sustainability and energy efficiency as key principals with high levels of insulation and renewable energy sources to ensure low running costs and to minimise carbon emissions.

“It is our intention to lease the cafe/restaurant to a suitable tenant and to give them the best chance to make this venture a success for the long term low running costs are essential.

“We hope this will be a welcomed addition to the local community for people to continue old traditions and make new happy memories.”

Matt Brereton, member for High Furness on Cumbria County Council, has welcomed the plans to transform the former pub.

He said: “There has been a certain amount of consternation since the business closed its doors a few years ago.

“Many people were genuinely quite shocked by the demolition of the building. That’s understandable, as it was an iconic building in a prominent location, holding many happy memories for a lot of folk.

“The developer has clarified that the demolition was in line with an amendment to the planning consent given by the Lake District National Park Authority, and that it was necessary owing to the dilapidated state of the building and the cost and availability of materials to effect repairs.

“While I do understand the disappointment and frustration of some people that the old building has been knocked down, the developer does emphasise the new building will look as much like the old one, and be as sustainable and energy-efficient, as possible.

“Making it an attractive option for a future operator and for visitors and customers alike.

“They have now shared their plans to rebuild the premises on social media. I hope that the rebuilding will progress apace and that the doors of the High Cross will be open for business again soon.

“I believe that the cafe will be available on a leasehold, so it could offer an excellent opportunity for a local entrepreneur to establish a new business serving the wider area.

“A development of this nature is certainly preferable to having an empty building decaying away before our eyes. Sadly, it does seem that the business model that served the High Cross over so many years was no longer sustainable.

“The last attempt to operate a cafe business at the location was ultimately unsuccessful so I appreciate the premises probably needed a complete overhaul to make it viable and fit for purpose.

“The holiday lets should also be a welcome addition, given that Broughton and indeed the whole of wider South Cumbria have seen a boom in tourism over the past couple of years, especially from families seeking a cost-effective staycation in the UK. No doubt more visitors from overseas will return to the area as global travel restrictions ease.

“Wherever homes are turned into holiday lets, this threatens to hollow out our communities if allowed to continue unchecked.

“So I broadly welcome this development, as it is putting what was in effect a derelict building back into use and seems to be on the right scale to serve rising demand locally in a sustainable way. I wish all those involved in the project every success.”

The Westmorland Gazette | News