A GRAND vision to build a bustling half-a-million pound community hub at the heart of a rural village looks set to get the go ahead.

An old garage and associated buildings in the small Ribble Valley village of Dunsop Bridge could soon benefit from a £500,000 investment which could see a new café, post office counter, shop and community space built.

As part of the plans, the popular Puddleducks Café would be moved to within the new community hub, with its current premises being transformed into a three-bedroom flat.

The village is the often referred to as the geographic centre of Great Britain.

Documents submitted to the council by the Wright Design Partnership, on behalf of the applicant, read: “The concept of this application is to regenerate a predominantly disused site in the heart of the village providing for the development of a community hub, to develop a sense of place within the community and an anchor for future growth.

“A new community hub that serves the community first, but which also provides information and a focal point for visitors to the area.

"The synergy of the community hub elements are intended to support local residents, businesses and operations to evolve, grow and stay within the community.”

The proposals include the demolition of two metal storage buildings and the main garage building which is currently located on the site.

With the site cleared and all elements of underground petrol tanks removed, the site would then be re-established with a community “hub” building slightly smaller than the footprint of the existing main garage build.

The main building is proposed as an envelope to accommodate a mix of uses, including a local shop, community information and resource centre, a dedicated Post Office counter and a café, which will potentially be licenced.

Other facilities will include toilets, wi-fi, bike and car electric charging stations and parking.

The documents continue: “The change of use proposals for St George’s Chapel (the existing tenants have indicated that they are unlikely to occupy the Church for much longer) is geared to provide flexible space for additional services to the community in an attempt to bring a range of services and provisions to the community (eg hairdresser, podiatrist, treatment rooms etc), again reinforcing a reduction in traffic movements and adding sustainability and vibrance to the local community.

“The proposal is for the Puddleducks facilities to be relocated within the hub, ensuring that by having staff on hand, the delivery of the ‘services’ can be regular and meaningful to both the community and visitors alike.

“The café and Post Office counter are to be re-established within the main community hub building and once fully operational, it is proposed to convert the ground floor layout of Puddleducks into a three-bedroomed flat.”

Plans go on to say the existing buildings on the site are ‘unsightly and beyond repair’ adding: “It is felt that the site is underused as a whole and given its location in the centre of the village of Dunsop Bridge and the geographical centre of England, it is considered there could be so much more offered in this prime location for the local community and visitors to the area.”

The plans have been recommended for approval with a final decision being made at a planning meeting next week.