AN effort to revive the fortunes of a well-known Blackburn venue is nearing completion, the Lancashire Telegraph can reveal.

And a hostelry in Darwen is proving where you can get with a little ambition and enterprise.

Long-awaited plans to transform The Woodlands, in Preston New Road, Blackburn, are nearing completion.

The finishing touches are currently being made to a £750,000 refit for the Beardwood landmark.

Chef consultant Syed Alom has been taken on by the six partners to assemble a front-of-house and kitchen team, ahead of an anticipated opening next month.

He told the Telegraph: "I take a lot of inspiration from Heston Blumenthal and I'll be looking to blow Lancashire away with what we will have on offer.

"I'll be looking to bring in a little theatre to put us on the map.

"Our staff will be in training for the next couple of weeks and we estimate it will be about two weeks or so before we open.

Syed is looking to take guests on a modern gastronomic tour, with French, Italian and traditional Indian fare set to take centre stage on his menu.

Much of the original architecture at the premises has been retained but an extension has been added and the car parking to the front and rear will prove useful.

Speaking previously Ishtiaq Hussain, one of the partners, said: "It was a very iconic pub that attracted a lot of customers and we want to keep the name but bring the space into the 21st century.

"All the guys are Blackburn-born and bred and we want to reinvest back into our home towns and provide a very high-quality restaurant.

"When you think of eating out in Blackburn, a lot of people think of fast food and takeaways, but we want to bring a lot more than that.

Another renovation project is already paying dividends for The Greenfield, off Cranberry Lane in Darwen.
Louise Hargreaves and Barry Bentley have owned the Lower Barn Street pub for three years.

But landlady Louise had always had her heart set on offering food, since taking on the premises directly last September.

An extensive refit upstairs has created an inviting eaterie and everything from traditional home-cooked specials and weekend breakfasts to Sunday lunches is now on offer.

READ MORE: New restaurant to open above Darwen pub

"My mum and I used to do the food at the Red Lion, in Blacksnape, and we always wanted to do the same when we took on The Greenfield," said Louise.

Now she is marshalling the 'front-of-house' while mum Angela is responsible for the kitchen.

Elsewhere there are those prepared to roll up their sleeves and see the potential in some of East Lancashire's more historic locations.

The grade II listed Bayley Arms, in Hurst Green, has been gathering dust for some time,

But this week proposals have been submitted to Ribble Valley Council for various alterations to bring the site back into use.

Edinburgh-based Star Pubs are behind the latest attempt to make an honest go of the country inn.

Works would include a refit of the kitchen, removing the old hotel reception desk in favour of a lightweight partition and creating a new cellar entrance.

Other improvements could see a revamp for the first-floor bedrooms, a fresh door to outside seating and new decking and he main entrance overhauled.

Planning agent Ian Murray said: "Refurbishment proposals are intended to provide improved external and internal customer experience to this existing licensed hostelry with a ‘quality’ dining emphasis."