A VACANT Great Harwood pub could be saved by being partly converted into a restaurant.

AJP Surveyors has applied to change the use of part of the ground floor of The Duke of Wellington in Blackburn Road.

An upstairs function room would be turned into two two-bedroom flats under the proposals.

Developers are hopeful that part of the building, which dates back to 1801, will reopen as a pub in the next month.

Alistair Douglas, a director at AJP Surveyors, said: “As far as I’m aware, we have not got anybody for the restaurant or cafe yet but we are in talks with somebody to take a tenancy on the pub.

“There are quite a few pubs in that area so there will be competition, but we will be a free house and hopefully there will be free ales and it will charge a bit less.”

The Duke of Wellington, formerly managed by Scottish and Newcastle Brewery and Day ‘n’ Night Entertainment Ltd, is currently closed, while the manager’s flat on the first floor is also unoccupied. If approved, the plans would see the pub’s floor space reduced to the size it was before 1999.

A heritage statement on behalf of Burnley-based AJP Surveyors said: “This application will continue to preserve the existing historic views, vistas and building lines along Blackburn Road and from the town hall square.

[It] will help to increase footfall in the town centre area by introducing an appropriate town centre use — cafe or restaurant — in Great Harwood town centre, and will contribute towards Great Harwood’s requirement to provide 480 homes by 2026.”

The pub, although not a listed building, is part of Great Harwood Town Centre Conservation Area, and was highlighted as ‘a building of local interest’ in a council report in June 2011.

It was originally built as a private house and cotton warehouse and was turned into a pub by 1893.

It is hoped the venue will reopen in time for the new football season.