|Moorlands Hotel, Freehold, Lancaster|
Updated: To the dismay of many (but, clearly, not enough to keep it open) the Moorlands Hotel in Lancaster's Freehold closed a few months ago and was sold to Mister Capitol Holdings by owners Mitchells. MCH plan to turn it into flats.
If that company name rings a bell, it should – because Mister Capitol Holdings is the same company that bought and began work on the Duke of Lancaster on China Street earlier this year.
As we reported in the summer, Lancaster City Council quickly called a halt to the conversion work and began a planning enforcement investigation after it became clear that Mister Capital Holdings, who are based in St. Leonards Gate, had begun work converting the former public house into flats without securing planning permission.
Planning permission was then made on 5th July to gain Listed Building Consent for various alterations including "replacement windows, doors, gates and works to ceilings, courtyard and elevations and the blocking up an existing doorway" to the main building, which the Council granted.
On 13th December, a new application, which is "Pending Consideration", was made on the Duke of Lancaster - Listed Building consent for works to facilitate the change of use of former stable block, within site curtilage of vacant public house to form 4 no. student apartments.
Work is in progress at the property, presumably in keeping with the planning permission granted in July and not in connection with work for which planning permission has not been granted.
|Duke of Lancaster, China Street|
There is, as yet, no planning application on the Council's web site for the building for change of use. Several locals have expressed concern at the proposed change of use, pointing to issues over car parking in the area for such a large development.
Commenting, a City Council spokesperson told us: "A planning application has been lodged for a change of use to the Moorlands Hotel from a public house to student accommodation. The application is currently invalid and the applicant has been made aware of the steps that are required to formally validate the application.
"Once the application has been validated, for reference, the number will be 13/01301/FUL."
We have been unable to contact anyone at Mister Capital Holdings for comment at this point.
While it's sad to see the demise of two local pubs and their loss as hostelries, Mitchells still owns over 40 public house in the Lancaster and Morecambe area, so let's hope they stay as they are in 2014...
• Mitchells Pubs in the Lancaster and Morecambe area