CAMPAIGNERS have thrown their weight behind ambitious plans to convert a 200-year-old former pub into a hotel.

The Ship, in Leigh, which has been closed since March 2017, could become a plush new hotel with 14 bedrooms.


Plans - how the new Ship could look


Shut - the Ship closed down in 2017

Under the proposals, a two-storey extension would be built to accommodate 14 bedrooms with en-suites, a restaurant for guests, seven parking spaces and a taxi drop-off area.

Peter Wexham, Lib Dem councillor for Leigh, said: “I think it’s the best thing that could’ve happened, it just wasn’t viable as a pub.

“I’d much rather it be a hotel than a block of flats- the Bell Hotel turned to flats and the Grand was the same, they got planning permission and then did away with it.

“If plans go ahead it’s ideal, Leigh is in need of a hotel desperately.

“People come to Leigh and there’s nowhere to stay so go to Southend or Eastwood.

“It’s important to keep Leigh’s heritage and allow the people who visit us to be a part of it.”

Margaret Buckey, secretary of the Leigh Society, added: “We were all rather sorry when the Ship closed, but we’re delighted at the news that it could be revamped. We hope it will retain the history and character which Leigh is known for.”

James Anderson, lifelong Leigh resident and owner of the Acorn Pie and Mash located just opposite the Ship believes the development will be fantastic for business and the community.

The 38-year-old, who lives in Uttons Avenue, said: “I live directly behind the building and we’ve been walking past that eyesore for years. It gives off the wrong impression and isn’t great to have a derelict building opposite to our business.

“Honestly, I can’t think of a negative for it. We want places that families and friends can enjoy.

“I’d rather live in a vibrant town that’s busy, bustling and where people want to invest. That will come at a price, parking may be restricted, but it will be worth it.

“I think it’ll be massive for the community- if people come from that way it will immediately give off a good impression.”

Resident Lisa Cairns, 43, added: “It’s a brilliant idea, there are no hotels in Leigh despite the amount of visitors we get here.

“It’s such a lovely building and it’ll be nice to have it restored to it’s original glory. I’ll be visiting as soon as it opens.”

If plans by the East Anglia Pub Company go ahead, the Ship would boast 11 double rooms with sea views and three family suites.


Supportive - Acorn Pie and Mash owners James and Samantha Anderson