THE future of a pub which dates back to the early 1700s looks to have been secured after a new landlord moved in.

Rick Smithwick has taken up the reigns of the White Bull Hotel in Ribchester after a two-year struggle by residents to stop it being converted into flats and lost to the village forever.


After briefly being open from October 2014 to January this year the pub was closed again prompting the formation of the Friends of the White Bull group which successfully campaigned to have to building designated as a Community Asset by Ribble Valley Borough Council.

Mr Smithwick, 57, who is originally from Liverpool, said: “It’s a beautiful village and the locals have really embraced the idea that it’s open again.

“I currently employ three people but am looking to add another 10 or so in the next couple of weeks.”

Marc Mallum, a member of the Friends of The White Bull, which has about 100 members, said: “It had a huge impact on the village when it was closed and it’s great to have it open again.

“In Rick I think we have someone who will do really well. I have lived here for 40 years and The White Bull was always the most popular pub.

“We were very concerned that it was going to stay closed and turned into flats so we made sure that it was designated a Community Asset by Ribble Valley Borough Council. That move forced the owners to continue to look for a new tenant.”

A spokesperson from Enterprise Inns said: “We’re pleased to announce that a new publican has taken the White Bull, Ribchester on to trade.

“The bar has now been reopened and a new food menu will be launched in the next couple of weeks .

Owners Enterprise Inns have also said it is continuing to search for a new tenant to take over the running of The Brown Cow in Chatburn after the pub closed suddenly before Christmas.

An Enterprise spokesman said: “We are currently in the process of recruiting an experienced publican to operate the Brown Cow with the aim of having this great pub back open and trading as soon as possible. We hope that the local residents of Chatburn will visit their village pub once it reopens to meet the new publicans and show their support.”