A FORMER pub that was earmarked to be turned into high end flats almost two years ago, is going up for auction next month with a guide price of £85,000.

The Prince of Wales Pub in Quaker Street, Darwen, had once been a prevalent fixture in the town.

However, before its closure it had become a hot spot for trouble, and was bought in August 2017 by Liverpool-based construction company owner, Ian McLeod.

At the time Mr McLeod said he would turn the building into six ‘high end’ flats, maintaining the original architecture of the building, which dates back to 1870.

Planning permission was granted for change of use from former public house to six self-contained flats with a widening of the existing access points, and work began on the flats in late 2017.

However, by mid-2018, work had ceased and no word was mentioned as to the fate of the building.

Darwen councillor Roy Davies said at the time planning permission was granted, he had raised some concerns over the application.

He said: “I had concerns at the time of the planning application in regards to parking as there’s a really bad bend there and there’s been complaints about it for a long time. I believe two lads bought it and had ideas to turn it into flats. They put a new roof on it but it wasn’t completed.

"It’s only in the last few months that they actually finished the other side of the roof. As far as I know, nothing else was done to the building.

“I’m glad something’s happening but I can’t think of any appropriate use for it to be honest. Changing it into flats would be a nightmare, and it was bad enough when it was a pub.”

Darwen East Labour Councillor Jane Oates said: “Work stopped on that building about four months ago I think, and I haven’t seen anyone there for a long time.

"The builders weren’t from round here so I don’t know whether they’ve run out of money or what. We’ve been trying to get in touch with them but no-one knows who they are.

"They said it was going to be turned into high end flats but this is far from a high end area and we were also worried about it being turned into an HMO (house with multiple occupancy). I really hope whoever buys it up puts it to some good use, although it’s a complete mess, so ripping it down would be an idea too.”

The auction by property auction experts Pugh will take place at the AJ Bell Stadium, Manchester, from noon on September 3. Doors open at 10.30am.