A FIRE-ravaged pub is set to be converted into offices as part of plans as part of canalside regeneration plans.

The Grill and Grain, off Bolton Road in Riley Green, was badly damaged in a huge blaze in April 2017.

More than 60 firefighters tackled the inferno at its height in a location known as The Boatyard Inn, which sat on the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Now Chorley Council’s planning committee has given the go-ahead to the demolition of the remaining shell of the pub and replacement with a two-storey office building, which will be the headquarters of developer Kingswood Homes.

An annex block – which is set into a slope on the site – will be retained and converted for either retail or office use.

Lancashire Telegraph: An artist's impression of the proposed developmentAn artist's impression of the proposed development

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal site is flanked to the east by Finningtons Marina, but a planning officer's report described the spot as an “eyesore”.

Councillors were persuaded to approve the plans for the green belt location – despite the fact development on this scale would usually be prohibited.

Before it can proceed, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove must decide on 'calling in' the decision to either rubberstamp the committee's decision or overrule it.

The committee was told the former owner of the pub had confirmed it would not be viable to rebuild and reopen the hostelry, which had undergone a £1 million refurbishment just months before it burned down.

Lancashire Telegraph: The site next to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Riley GreenThe site next to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Riley Green

Senior council planning officer Amy Aspinall said the application had demonstrated the “very special circumstances” required to justify what would otherwise be considered inappropriate development in the green belt.

She added: “It would provide a high-quality, sympathetic design which reflects the historical use of the site as a boatyard, whilst also minimising its impact [via] the topography of the site.

Cllr Harold Heaton said he had “fond memories” of the venue in previous incarnation: "It used to be a good night out on Friday nights, [with a] DJ, karaoke and all that.

"I’m glad to see there is an application to tidy the site up and build something on there."

Cllr Martin Boardman said while he would not usually support green belt applications which involved the construction of a significantly bigger building than one which was being demolished, he believed this particular plan served to improve the location.

“I think the building design is really appropriate for the setting, it is sympathetic to the surrounding areas," he added.