FRESH owners have been confirmed for one of East Lancashire’s most renowned hotels.

But bosses at Stanley House Hotel and Spa, Mellor, are remaining tight-lipped over the identity of the new patrons.

Speculation has centred on whether the Issa brothers, Mohsin and Zuber, have acquired the historic 54-acre site.

However a spokesman for the EG Group declined to comment when approached by the Lancashire Telegraph.

Until now, the hotel has been owned by Nora Walker, widow of steel magnate Fred Walker, the brother of Blackburn Rovers benefactor Jack.

Arranged around an Italian-style garden, the hotel consists of a three-storey 12-room manor house, built in 1640, and two modern buildings, one containing the hotel’s two restaurants and function suites, the other, The Woodlands, housing 18 rooms and the award-winning spa.

Once a rundown farmstead, the site was acquired by Leehand Leisure in the early 2000s and reopen up as a country hotel in 2004 after an extensive refit.

Mr Walker remained as company secretary for Leehand, until his death in March 2012, and the bar and lounge there, which had been extended two years earlier, is named Mr Fred’s in his honour.

Last December Mrs Walker celebrated her birthday there with a concert starring opera icon Alfie Boe.

Philip Wharton, the general manager at Stanley House, said: “The owners of Stanley House Hotel and Spa have sold the building, property and land assets on which Stanley House operates and have signed a lease until September 30, 2020.

“This sale does not impact the day-to-day running of the hotel and spa operations for the next 12 months.

“For the next 12 months, it is very much business as usual.

“Our team is committed to providing the same exceptional levels of service our guests have become accustomed to.

“The directors are reviewing all options for the period after September 30.

“We have informed all guests who have bookings after that date.”

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Earlier this year Stanley House, which had recently renovated its bridal suites, was named ‘Best Wedding Venue - hotel and spa’ at the Great Northern Wedding Awards.

The Issa brothers are partners in a hotel firm, Monte Hospitality, with Irfan Ali, which operates out of Euro House, their headquarters at Guide. Monte is the franchise partner for the new Hampton by Hilton Blackburn, currently under construction at Whitebirk.