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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Wetherspoons linked with move into Lake District town

Pub chain Wetherspoons may be about to secure a foothold in the Lake District.

Police station photo
Former Keswick police station

The firm is thought to be in talks about buying the former police station in Keswick.

Any potential deal there would give the chain, which runs the Bransty Arch in Whitehaven and the Henry Bessemer in Workington, its first pub in the Lakes.

It would add to price competition among pubs in Keswick.

Wetherspoons does not comment on talks about specific sites. The News & Star, however, understands discussions are at an advanced stage.

Kathryn Flagner, chairwoman of West Cumbria Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said she would welcome the pub chain with cautious optimism.

“Really, I suppose, it’s catering for a different market that would be going to a lot of the other pubs in Keswick and it would provide more choice for consumers. CAMRA is all about choice,” she said. “Some people say Wetherspoons prices other pubs out of the market but I don’t think that’s the case.

“People don’t always go somewhere for the cheapest drink. They go for the atmosphere, because their friends go there, for all sorts of reasons.

“Also a lot of the pubs in Keswick are Jennings so it may provide a wider choice of beers in the area. They often provide local beers too.”

The former police station on Bank Street in Keswick and its adjoining former magistrates’ court building have been on the market for offers over £475,000.

It has been out of use since June when police operations for the area became based at a new station in Europe Way in Cockermouth.

The court has been empty since it was closed 12 years ago.

Police officers in Keswick now share a base with the town’s firefighters as part of a cost-cutting drive by Cumbria Constabulary to make savings of more than £20 million.

As part of the building’s sale, interested parties were invited to make informal tenders, known as sealed bids, as part of the process which was being handled by Cumbria County Council in partnership with Cumbria Police Authority.

It has since failed to sell at auction. Town mayor Andrew Lysser has expressed frustration that the town council has not been offered an option to buy the court building.

Talks about Keswick are thought to be the second known attempt by Wetherspoons to tap into the Lakeland market.

It was interested in taking on the Lonsdale Cinema building in Penrith last year, when its future looked bleak.

Following a high-profile public campaign against closure the cinema has gone on to install digital technology as it looks to a bright future.

Have your say

Great news for the locals prices people can afford

Posted by Pauline on 24 November 2012 at 11:23

lets hope weatherspoons if it happens is kept dog free for health reasons. keswick pubs are not family friendly and cater for dogs more than children

Posted by ken normington on 17 November 2012 at 14:59

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