A restaurant inside a pub, which became the first community owned establishment in Lancashire, has closed.

The Dog Inn at Belthorn has temporarily closed its restaurant after Mark Taylor decided to end his tenure as head chef to move onto pastures new.

Posting on their Facebook page on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Dog Inn said: "Due to unforeseen circumstances the restaurant will be closed until further notice.

"The coffee shop and the bar remain open as usual.

"We apologise for any inconvenience.

"The current restaurant operator has indicated that they no longer wish to continue leasing the restaurant.

Lancashire Telegraph: Mark Taylor with Jamie Evans

"The restaurant, led by Mark, has had a very beneficial impact on the Dog Inn and its reputation and we wish to thank him and wish him success in any future ventures.

"We aim to advertise this excellent business opportunity and have a replacement restaurant operator in place as soon as possible.

"In the short term the restaurant will remain closed."

In November 2014, the pub closed its doors for what could very well have been the last time.

The owners at the time were unable to find a suitable landlord so in February 2015 put the pub and adjoining land up for auction.

However, thanks to the efforts of the villagers of Belthorn, who managed to secure it as an Asset of Community Value, in November 2015 the pub re-opened and became Lancashire's first community owned pub.

Since then it has gone from strength-to-strength, with Mark and his friend Jamie Evans taking over the running of the restaurant in May 2019, before the friends lent their skills to the Bank Bar and Kitchen in Darwen last year.

Taking to Facebook, regulars expressed their sadness at Mark's departure but wished him all the best for his future.

One Facebook user posted: "So, so, sorry to hear that Mark has left the Dog.

"As a family we enjoyed many a meal here.

"You will be sorely missed by all of your customers Mark.

"Not just for your fantastic food but for being such a lovely person, always willing to go the extra mile for your customers.

"Very best wishes for your new venture. Make sure you let us know where you are."

While Beckie Fielding wrote: "Devastating news. The Dog Inn has lost a great chef and much loved member of the community.

"He was also an excellent customer of our local produce.

"We wish Mark and Grace lots of love and good luck for the future."

The Dog Inn pub will remain open, with the usual opening hours.