BREWERY Thwaites has welcomed the arrival of discount chain JD Wetherspoon to Darwen.

Wetherspoon’s opened The Old Chapel in the former Railway Road Methodist Church last month.

It has led to speculation as to the future of other town centre pubs, with nearby The Bridgewater announcing a costly refurbishment later this year.

But Thwaites bosses said The Millstone, which was for years the main town centre pub in Darwen, welcomed the extra competition.

Andrew Buchanan, director of pub operations, said: “The Millstone in Darwen has always been a favourite with tourists and locals alike.

“Thwaites invested in the pub just 18 months ago, when it underwent an extensive refurbishment and we are delighted with how it is trading.

“We welcome the arrival of any new establishments into the local area. Not only does it demonstrate that the pub trade is alive and kicking, but it also adds more variety to the town’s social offering.”