A DISABLED toilet, a car park and a bus shelter are all set to be added to an historical Ribble valley pub after the plans were approved by councillors.

The plans for The Assheton Arms Hotel in Downham, which also include improvements to the existing toilets, had been recommended for refusal for council officers but that was overturned by the planning and development committee.

The pub at the top of the village, opposite St Leonard’s Church, was first used as a public house in the 19th century, when it was known as the Cross Keys.

It changed its name a number of times before becoming The Assheton Arms in the 1950s, when it was named after Conservative politician Ralph Assheton.

He had previously served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury and was later given the peerage of Baron Clitheroe of Downham.

The pub is still owned by the Assheton family.

Ralph Assheton, who spoke at the meeting, said: “My family own Downham and I live there and we have always tried to preserve the village while being cautious about modernising.

“The village needs a hub and the Ribble Valley had had a lot of pubs close recently.

“This plan would go a long way to keeping it open.”