A HISTORIC pub in the heart of Leigh could be restored to its former glory and converted into a new hotel.

The proposal, from the East Anglia Pub Company, would see the former Ship pub extended and converted into the “one and only” hotel in Leigh.

The Ship, which dates back to the 1800s, operated as a pub until it closed suddenly in March 2017 “due to unforeseen circumstances”.

Paul Barthaud, director of East Anglia Pub Company which also operates the popular Peterboat pub in Leigh, said: “We constantly get asked for accommodation from people outside the area and there aren’t any hotels.

“We have previously tried to buy and develop the Grand and the council’s intention with the Bell - which is opposite the Ship - was for it to become a hotel but it has become flats, as has the Grand.

“The Ship was historically a hotel and the intention with this application is to return it to its original glory, very much with respect to the building and its appearance.”

The ambitious plans include a two-storey extension to accommodate 14 bedrooms with en-suites, a restaurant for guests, eight parking spaces and a taxi drop-off area.

There would be 11 double rooms with sea views and three family suites.

Two of the rooms will each have access to a private terrace.

Mr Barthaud added: “There will be some works which are in the plans and will be for a small but necessary extension to the second floor in order to produce some much-needed room space.

“We will operate it purely as a hotel, there will be a food and drink but that is primarily for the benefit of the hotel.

“Members of the public will be able to come and use it but it won’t be a large restaurant and bar area as we are optimising it for hotel use as opposed to a public bar and restaurant.”

Mr Barthaud said he did not know the reason for the closure of the pub but hoped the plans will allow his company to be “custodians of another great landmark in Leigh”.

The proposal is expected to be discussed at a future Southend Council planning meeting.