Shock as time called on popular Burnley pub

A popular pub, that was at the centre of the hugely successful Burnley Canal Festival, will serve its final beer on Sunday.

Friday, 1st September 2017, 1:21 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:14 pm
Burnley's Inn on the Wharf which is to close on Sunday.

And plans could be on the cards for it be converted into town centre apartments.

News that the Inn on the Wharf was to close its doors after over 20 years of trading has sent shockwaves through the town.

All 12 of the full and part-time staff at the pub will lose their jobs.

The pub, which is owned by Greene King, the UK's largest pub retailer and brewer, went up for sale two years ago with a tenure to let at just £1 a year.

A spokesman for chartered surveyors, James A Baker, which is handling the sale, said the pub had been bought by a company based in London subject to planning permission to convert it into apartments.

A planning application has not been made yet to Burnley Borough Council.

Over the years the Inn on the Wharf has hosted hundreds of functions including wedding and birthday celebrations and many charity events.

Peter Lee, who has been landlord at the pub for the past seven years, said he and his staff only found out for certain last Thursday that the pub would be closing.

He said: "We stopped taking bookings for functions four to six weeks ago and all deposits for events booked will be refunded.

"In fact out of six deposits outstanding three have already been paid back and the others will be returned before we close."

In a prime position on Manchester Road, on the banks of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, the pub, a grade two listed building, is owned by Greene King, the UK's largest pub retailer and brewery

It was sold two years ago but when that sale fell through Peter agreed to stay on as a caretaker landlord.

Peter said: "We always knew this was coming as I held my leaving do in March last year.

"It is a shame because I feel like we have really built the pub up in the past couple of years. There are a lot of regular customers who are sorry to see the place go and I appreciate all the comments of support and thanks from them.

"Burnley is a great town and this place has so much potential."

A spokesman for the Burnley Canal Festival described the Inn on the Wharf as "an integral part" of the annual event that draws thousands of visitors to the town.

The spokesman said: "We are really sorry to hear this, what a shock. We can't imagine the festival without you.

"The visiting boaters much appreciated their welcome buffet and hospitality laid on for them at the Inn on Wharf.

"Hordes of visitors to the festival stopped off at the bar as a key part of their trip here."

Another casualty of the closure is the Pendle Jazzmen who have played at the Inn on the Wharf for the last five-and-half-years.

Spokesman Colin Mason said band members and supporters were shocked by the news.

He said: " Much effort has been made by landlord Peter Lee and his young team to try and keep the venue open.

"We have formed a great friendship over the years and he has kept the faith in the band during the last year when business seems to have waned.

"Sadly, the chances of the band finding another venue is highly unlikely."

In a bid to help anyone who may have booked a future function at the Inn on the Wharf, Nelson House and Remedy bar in Burnley have offered alternative venues.